By: Ryan Schadewald, sports information assistant
FINDLAY, Ohio - The Bluffton University track and field team continued their season with several great performances at the Findlay Alumni Classic and Elite Throws event on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 25-26.
The meet got started in a big way on Friday when junior Alexis Cash (Gaines, Mich./Lake Fenton) added her name to the record books in the 5000 meters, running a time of 18:45.60, which is a second better than Alison Janzen who held the record from her race in 2013. Cash finished fourth on Friday night.
Senior Jennie Matteson (Guysville/Alexander) and sophomore Kimberly Hetrick (Fremont/Ross) ran 5000 meter times of 19:40.17 and 20:27.61, respectively, and also garnered automatic qualifying times for the upcoming HCAC Championships.
A second record was broken to highlight the day on Saturday, as sophomore Bailie Barrington (Waynesfield/Waynesfield-Goshen) ran a time of 1:47.72 in the 600 meters, breaking a record set 13 years ago by Ashley Smith. Barrington won her heat and finished fourth overall. Earlier in the day, Barrington earned an HCAC automatic qualifying time of 5:31.70 in the mile run as she also ran a personal best by five seconds. She finished 12th out of 25 runners in the event.
The field events also saw several great performances as a trio of Beavers automatically qualified for the HCAC Championships. Sophomore Remi Bower (Deshler/Patrick Henry) and freshman Kayla Ferguson (Pandora/Pandora-Gilboa) finished eighth and ninth by clearing 1.48 meters (4 feet, 10.25 inches), while sophomore Sarah Heydinger (Tinora/Buckeye Central) cleared 1.43 meters (4 feet, 8.25 inches) to also earn an automatic qualifier.
Sophomore Tori Bowen (Wapakoneta/Elida) earned the HCAC provisional mark in the pole vault on Friday with a best vault of 3.42 meters (11 feet, 2.5 inches) to finish seventh in the event.
Highlighting the weekend on the men's side was freshman Brandon James (Waynesfield/Waynesfield-Goshen) who became the first Beaver to compete in the heptathlon and finished in a tie for fourth place with 3912 points as the only Division III athlete in the field.
The men also added a handful of HCAC qualifiers in several field events on the weekend. Junior Justin Kauffman (Smithville) did so in the pole vault with his fourth place finish and 4.28 meter (14 feet, 0.5 inch) clearance. Freshman Noah Judd (Columbia City, Ind.) qualified in the long jump with his leap of 6.50 meters (21 feet, 4 inches). Finally, John Jones (Cincinnati/Walnut Hills) hit the provisional mark in the weight throw with an eighth-place toss of 14.54 meters (47 feet, 8.5 inches).
On the track, sophomore Omar Warlick (East Pointe, Mich./Clintondale) had a superb performance with a fourth place run in the 200 meter dash with a time of 23.60 seconds in the field of 29 runners! Warlick added an 11th place finish in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.31 seconds.
The top performance for the distance crew came from junior Connor Gulick (St. Louisville/Utica) who finished 18th out of 37 runners in the men's mile with a time of 4:40.29.
Bluffton will continue its indoor slate on Saturday, Feb. 2 at the Joe Banks Invitational on the campus of Ohio Northern University. Field events are set to begin at 11 a.m. with running events kicking off an hour later at the ONU Sports Center in Ada.