Track and field continues strong season at SPIRE invite

Women’s 4x400 shines in debut

Written By Robert Berger, Co-News Editor

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It was another record setting weekend for the Pioneer men’s and women’s indoor track and field team as they traveled to Geneva Ohio for the annual Spire Midwest open meet.

Events kicked off Friday morning on the track as the Pioneer men competed in the distance medley relay (DMR). The team of juniors Sean Hilverding, Bryan Partika and Andre Bennett and sophomore Xavier Stephens set a school record with a 10 minutes, 33.9 seconds finish.

“If I take my mile time down a bit, I think we will have a good chance of qualifying in this one,” Stephens said.

The men’s DMR team is currently ranked eighth in the NAIA (National Association of Collegiate Athletics) in the event.

Stephens also competed in the men’s 800 meter run where he placed sixth in 1 minute, 55.15 seconds. After the meet, Coach Kelly Parsley told The Globe that Stephens has met the nationals qualifying time already, but time conversion is getting in the way of the official mark.

“Because we run on an oversized track, they’ve been converting his time to slower then the standard, even though he ranks among the top-10 nationally he has not yet qualified.” Parsley said. “I think it’s just a matter of time.”

Stephens told The Globe this week he is confident for next week’s 800 meter run as there will be no time conversion due to the bigger track at Mt. Union.

Stephens is also ranked 24th nationally in the men’s 1,000 meter run.

“I’m not ranked as high as I’d like to be, but once I run it more I think I’ll hit that qualifying time by the Kent State meet,” Stephens said.

On the field, two Pioneer jumpers placed in the top ten in the men’s long jump. Sophomore Shaun Berry and junior Andre Lowery finished fourth and seventh respectively.

Also on the field, sophomore Michael Morris competed in the finals of the men’s high jump where he placed eighth overall.

On the women’s side, the Pioneers tallied another nationals qualifier from junior Anna Shields as she won the women’s 600 meter run. Shields took an early lead and maintained it from lap one as she finished  in 1 minute, 33.49 seconds.

Shields also competed in the one mile run in which she lead until the final laps when Janelle Noe and Athena Welsch of Toledo passed her. Shields finished third in 4 minutes, 43.63 seconds, just .43 seconds shy of second-place finisher Welsh.

In the women’s 3,000 meters, junior Kara Rohlf scored a personal record by nearly forty seconds as she finished in 11 minutes, 2 seconds.

“I spent two years hardly doing indoor because of injuries and surgeries so it feels really good to finally see some progression from high school and my freshman year,” Rohlf said after the race. “The 11-minute barrier has been quite a challenge for me, but I’ll get it next time.”

To conclude events Saturday, the women’s 4×400 team of senior Olukemi Olugbakinro, Shields, sophomore Erica Hanserd and Bartram placed third in 4 minutes, 0.53 seconds. Qualifying the team for nationals.

“I knew they had a chance to qualify, but that was the first time we ever ran that team in a DMR,”  Parsley said.

Next weekend, the Pioneers will travel to Mt. Union for the Jim Wuske Invitational.

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