Dec. 8, 2012
FINDLAY, Ohio -- The Marshall University track and field team capped-off its opening meet of the 2012-13 season with several impressive performances at the University of Findlay’s Oiler Opener on Friday and Saturday.
The two day event took place inside Findlay’s Malcolm Athletic Center and saw four Thundering Herd athletes record first place finishes, and several others establish personal bests, as Marshall started its season on a positive note.
“We had an unbelievably awesome opening meet,” said head coach Jeff Small. “My assistant coaches did a tremendous job this fall preparing our team to compete, and it showed as we won four events and finished second in four others.”
The first Herd athlete to compete at the meet was senior Vanessa Jules, who took first place in Friday’s pentathlon with a 3563 point performance that included wins in the high jump, long jump, and 60m hurdle events. Her third place shot put of 9.61m was a personal best, setting the reigning Conference USA runner-up on the right track for the start of the new season.
In the weight throw, junior Amanda Hottenstein finished in 10th with a personal best toss of 15.23m, while freshman Bethany Drury recorded a top-15 placement in her first collegiate meet with a weight throw of 14.12m.
In Saturday’s action the Herd witnessed several more impressive performances, beginning with a sweep of the long jump competition by Crystal Walker and Amber Pierson. The Marshall duo placed first and second, respectively, with leaps of 5.84 and 5.74m. Pierson’s leap was good enough to set a new personal best, but was only the second most exciting thing to happen to the Prince Georges, Va., native after she finished first in the 400m with a personal best time of 58.76. Her victory in the event makes it the second consecutive season in which she has won the 400m at the Oiler Opener.
Senior Jasia Richardson
also joined Jules, Walker, and Pierson in the winner’s circle by bounding 12.07m to take first in the triple jump. Teammate Loren Dyer
wasn’t far behind with a third place triple jump of 11.44m that exceeded her previous personal record by .17m.
Jules also participated in the 60m hurdles, but after qualifying in second with a time of 8.79 saw her fifth place finish in the final heat bettered by teammate Alecia Daniels’ third place, personal best time of 9.09.
In the sprinting events, Marshall freshmen Shyra Molton and Shanice Johnson made an early name for themselves with near-record-breaking performances in the 60m, 200m, 300m, and 4x400m relay events. Molton’s 60m time of 7.69 was good enough for second place and missed the Marshall record held by teammate Delkira Maybin by just .07 seconds. Crystal Walker (7.80), Shanice Johnson (7.82), and Maybin (7.93) finished fifth, sixth, and ninth in the 60m to give Marshall four sprinters in the top-10.
It was a similar story in the 200m, where Molton crossed the line in 25.24 to place second and miss out on the school record by less than half a second. Sophomore Mariah Njoku, returning after sitting out last season, tied a personal record in the event with a fifth place finish of 26.31. Freshman Asia Bange also made an appearance in the top-10 with a time of 26.95.
In the 300m, Shanice Johnson took over has the Herd’s lead runner, placing third with a 41.33 time that was just .33 seconds off Jules’ Marshall record in the event. Loren Dyer and Hadassah Lynch finished in fourth and fifth with personal best times of 41.55 and 42.68 to give Marshall a strong representation in the top-5 of the 300m.
In the last event of the day, the 4x400m relay team of Johnson, Dyer, Amber Pierson, and Alanna Dawkins ran to a second place time of 3:53.73 that was just .41 seconds away from setting a new school record. Such a finish was impressive considering that two of the group’s established members, Jules and Lynch, did not run in the event at this meet.
“Today was a great start for the ladies,” said assistant coach Willie Johnson. “We set a high goal to start this season statistically better than we ended last indoor season and were able to do that in multiple events. I am proud of the ladies and how they competed today.”
The Herd must now wait until the New Year arrives before competing in its next meet at the Kentucky Invitational from January 11-12 in Lexington, Ky.