By: Ryan Schadewald, sports information assistant
ADA, Ohio - The Bluffton University track and field teams headed to Ohio Northern University to participate in the Joe Banks Invitational on Saturday, Feb. 2, continuing to mark provisional conference qualifying times as we get closer to the HCAC Championships in two weeks in Defiance.
The men's team placed fifth with 62 points, while the women were seventh with 23 points in the field of eight teams.
The men were highlighted by freshman Brandon James (Waynesfield/Waynesfield-Goshen) who brought home first place in the triple jump with a career-best jump of 12.66 meters (41 feet, 6.5 inches). The mark also qualifies him for the HCAC meet.
In the long jump, freshman Noah Judd (Columbia City,Ind.) added a second place finish with a leap of 6.49 meters (21 feet, 3.5 inches), just 0.04 meters shy of victory.
Wrapping up the field events for the men was junior Justin Kauffman (Smithville), who earned a third-place finish in the pole vault, with a mark of 4.00 meters (13 feet, 1.5 inches).
Junior John Jones (Cincinnati/Walnut Hills) also scored a pair of points thanks to a seventh-place finish in the shot put with a toss of 11.88 meters (38 feet, 11.75 inches).
The day on the track started off on the right foot as junior Dakota Frost (Edgerton/Hicksville) earned a fourth-place spot in the 3000 meter run with a season-best time of 9:08.96. Adding a fourth-place finish for the distance crew was junior Connor Gulick (St. Louisville/Utica) with a time of 2:01.16 in the 800 meter run, qualifying him for the conference championships.
For the sprinters, freshman Daniel Williams (Lansing, Mich./Waverly) had a great performance in the 60 meter dash with a time of 7.32 seconds, good enough to finish in the third position. Sophomore Omar Warlick (East Pointe, Mich./Clintondale) also added a fourth-place finish in the 200 meters with a time of 23.73 seconds.
The Beavers also grabbed fifth place finishes in a pair of relays to add an extra 10 points on the day. The 4x200 meter relay team of Williams, Christian Parker, Judd, and Warlick finished fifth, while the 4x400 group of James, William Bakeman (Clinton Twp, Mich./Clintondale), Austin Hernandez (Marion/Ridgedale), and Gulick also was fifth, but earned third place points with their time of 3:40.02.
On the women's side, Bluffton was led by another pair of superb performances from the distance crew. Senior Jennie Matteson (Guysville/Alexander) started the day with a fourth-place finish in the 3000 meters following a season-best time of 11:06.41. Sophomore Bailie Barrington (Waynesfield/Waynesfield-Goshen) also placed fourth in the 800 meters with a best time of 2:26.76.
In the field, junior Tori Bowen (Wapakoneta/Elida) led the group with a fourth-place finish in the pole vault with a best vault of 3.51 meters (11 feet, 6.25 inches).
Sophomore Remi Bower (Deshler/Patrick Henry) also finished in the fourth position for the high jump with a leap of 1.51 meters (4 feet, 11.5 inches).
Sophomore Stephanie Fox (Pickerington/Central) added a sixth-place finish in the weight throw with a conference qualifying mark of 10.87 meters (35 feet, 8 inches).
The Beavers will divide and conquer next weekend with a pair of meets as a group will compete at the Dick Small Invitational on the campus of Defiance College on Friday, Feb. 8, followed by the All-Ohio Championships at Otterbein University on Saturday, Feb. 9.