By: Ryan Schadewald, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University outdoor track and field team looks to build on the momentum that was built during the indoor campaign under first-year head coach Kaylea Jachno.
Jachno led the Beavers to a sixth place finish on the women's side and a fifth-place mark on the men's side at the HCAC Indoor Championships last month, and the Beavers hope to improve on those marks during the outdoor season.
Junior Tori Bowen (Wapakoneta/Elida) hopes to defend her conference title from the indoor season, where she cleared 3.62 meters (11 feet, 10.5 inches) to break the indoor HCAC Championship record as the 33rd best mark in the country.
The Beavers are also looking at the high jump as a key spot to add points in the field, as sophomore Remi Bower (Deshler/Patrick Henry) returns after a seventh-place finish indoors. Freshman Kayla Ferguson (Pandora/Pandora-Gilboa) and sophomore Sarah Heydinger (Tiro/Buckeye Central) look to improve their marks that were just outside of scoring at the HCAC Indoor Championships.
The women's team will continue to rely heavily on the distance squad for points, with the Beavers bringing back the defending HCAC outdoor champions in both the 5000 meter race with junior Alexis Cash (Gaines, Mich./Lake Fenton) and the 10,000 meter race with senior Jennie Matteson (Guysville/Alexander). Junior Arie Cox (Ontario) also looks to defend and improve upon a third-place run in last year's 10,000 meter race.
Bluffton will also count on the middle-distance group as sophomore Bailie Barrington (Waynesfield/Waynesfield-Goshen) looks to continue to grow after scoring in both the 800 meters and mile races at the HCAC Indoor Championships.
The Beavers will also benefit from the return of senior Keturah Warlick (East Point,Mich./Clintondale), as she has recovered from an injury that kept her from competing for most of the indoor season.
The men garnered a fifth-place finish on the indoor track, but look to move up the standings at the end of April on the outdoor track.
The Beaver look to be a well-rounded squad, with every event group being essential to the improvement of that mark.
A pair of freshmen led the charge in February as Noah Judd (Columbia City, Ind.) and Daniel Williams (Lansing, Mich./Waverly) finished in the third spot in the long jump and 60-meter dash, respectively. They will look to improve and vie for a spot on top of the podium next month.
The Beavers will also look for sophomore Omar Warlick (East Pointe, Mich./Clintondale) to improve on his pair of seventh-place finishes.
The distance crew returns junior Connor Gulick (St. Louisville/Utica) to lead the charge. Gulick was just one second off the school record in the 3000 meter steeple chase in 2018, and he also scored points in the 800 on the indoor track, making his versatility a key. Junior Dakota Frost (Edgerton/Hicksville) will also look to build on the momentum from his big finish in the 3000 meter race at the indoor championships.
The Beavers will open the 2019 outdoor campaign with a trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C. for the Alan Connie Shamrock Invitational, a three-day meet that goes from March 14 through March 16. The Beavers will run close to home on Friday, April 20 and Saturday, April 21 at the Ohio Northern Polar Bear Invitational before traveling to Mount St. Joseph University for the HCAC Outdoor Championships on Friday, April 27 and Saturday, April 28.