Both men’s and women’s track and field squads competed this weekend in Knoxville, Tenn., at the Sea Ray Relays against teams from across the country. Many put up seasonal-best or personal-best performances.
Morgan Keller won her first event on the collegiate level; winning the discus throw with a distance of 49.05m. Jianna Williams would place first in the hammer throw with a distance of 56.50m. Williams would also finish second in the discus with a throw of 45.65m.
Julia Ott had a seasonal-best pole vault of 3.80m to place ninth. Taylor Knauf also vaulted to a personal-best height of 3.65m.
Shandel Ellis placed fifth in the 400-meter dash with a time of 55.45. Sarah Mussallem and Ally Christiani followed her with times of 57.14 and 57.85 to finish 17th and 18th.
Kaley Ummel ran a seasonal-best time in the 800-meter at 2:14.74. Kristen Zillmer finished ninth in the 1,500-meter with a 4:32.68 time, which is also a seasonal-best. Kelly McShea was five spots back from Zillmer with a time of 4:36.61. Jenna Combs would run a seasonal-best time of 1:02.09 in the 400-meter hurdles.
“We had some pretty good performances all-around today,” head coach Elvis Forde said. “Jianna won the hammer and had a personal best mark, which is outstanding, and when you win, you have to feel good. Today we had some good results from Sarah Mussallem in the 200-meter. Shandel, who has been out, came in and had a very good day. I was happy to see her hold up well, and I am looking forward to her running tomorrow. Morgan also won the discus, which is a big boost for her, and it is always great to win at a big meet like this.”
In the relay events, Mussallem, Ellis, Christiani and Combs would compete in the 4×400 meter relay. Their fast start would help them earn a third place finish with a time of 3:42.14.
The 4×800 team of Ummel, Jackie Mink, Kimi Sanden and Zillmer put up a time of 8:58.87 to finish fourth.
On the men’s side, Curt Jensen would compete in three events on the weekend: the shot put, discus, and hammer throw. He would place third in the shot put with a heave of 19.25m. He placed fifth in the discus with a throw of 53.42m, and 12th in the Hammer throw with a distance of 55.97m.
Javar Cruz earned a seasonal-best time in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 54.16 to finish third. Jalen Lewis would also notch a personal-best time in the competition with a time of 55.89.
Aidan Askin finished with a seasonal-best time in the 1,500-meter with a time of 3:56.62, finishing 14th. Dave Eckhart finished right behind him with a time of 3:56.74.
In the men’s relays, the 4×100 team of Nathan Schreiber, Deshaun Jordan, Fabian Norgrove and Anderson Devonish finished with a seasonal-best time of 41.42 to place fifth.
The distance medley crew of Askin, Coty Kramer, Ryan Bybee and Eckhart finished fifth as well, posting a time of 9:59.92
“Our running events, and in particular, our men’s 4×100-meter relay was probably one of the best 4×100 relays we have had in a long time,” Forde said. “Nathan Schreiber led off to Deshaun who handed off to Fabian and finally to Andy, and they ran some of the best time combined for us. There can still be a little improvement in the handoff to make them faster, and I am really looking forward to that.”
The Redbirds will compete next weekend at Columbus, Ohio for the Jesse Owens Classic.