Springfield, Ohio – Highlighted by three first-place finishes, both the men's and women's outdoor track & field squads finished third out of five teams on Good Friday at Wittenberg's Annual "Coach Rob Invitational" in Springfield. The women's team finished the home event with 123.5 points, while the men finished third overall with 114.5 total points. Mount Union won the team title in both genders with 258 points on the men's side and 217 points on the women's side.
Coach Rob, Dennis Robinson, was highly regarded in the sport of cross country and track and field throughout his career. Serving as an assistant on the Wittenberg staff from 2003-2014, Robinson had a tremendous influence on the development of all his student-athletes. He exemplified winning and class with every stride and was always an outstanding gentleman and mentor for Wittenberg student-athletes.
Two of the first-place finishes on the day came from female athletes, highlighted by junior Alexis Gray breaking the tape in the 400-meter run with a season-best time of 59.08. Gray and sophomore teammate Marteana Newton remain the only two athletes in the NCAC this season to post sub-minute times in the 400 as Newton leads the way with a time of 58.89 at last weekend's All-Ohio Championships. In addition to Gray, sophomore Taylor Barnhisel was the individual champion in the 400-meter hurdles with a winning time of 1:10.04.
On top of Gray and Barnhisel's titles, the women's team posted 22 additional top-8 finishes at the home meet, which included another second-place showing from Barnhisel in the javelin with a toss of 28.80 meters. Also posting second-place showings for the Tigers were sophomore Hannah Eley in the hammer throw with a distance of 40.37 meters and freshman Emma Scritchfield in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 22.34.02. Eley also finished seventh overall in the discus competition with a heave of 31.06 meters.
Three additional female athletes posted top-eight finishes in field events, led by sophomore Preslee Rolf placing third in the pole vault at a height of 2.63 meters. Freshman Stevie Plikerd tied for fourth in the high jump after clearing 1.37 meters, while senior Leah Hilley finished eighth in the javelin at a distance of 21.20 meters.
The women's team also had success in the running events on the afternoon, led by the 4x400-meter relay placing second with a time of 4:53.06 and the 4x100 placing fourth in 50.89 seconds. Individually, two athletes picked up points in the 1,500-meter run, with freshman Elizabeth Canright placing third in 5:20.09 and classmate Morgan Ely finishing fifth overall with a time of 5:38.26. Sophomore Ryelee Clary followed up with a fourth-place showing in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.47, while a trio of Tigers placed in the top-eight in the 100-meter dash, including Rolf placing fourth (13.38), Clary finishing fifth (13.50) and Hilley placing seventh (13.64). In the women's 800-meter run, sophomore Erika Bournival finished fifth in 2:34.50, while freshman Annalee Lynn wasn't far behind in seventh with a time of 2:36.05. Two athletes followed behind Barnhisel in the 400 hurdles, with freshman Maxine Wishman placing third (1:13.73) and junior Madison Nadler placing fifth overall in 1:18.94. Finally, the Tigers' women's team had three runners score points in the 200-meter dash, led by freshman Gabriella Smith placing second with a time of 28.18. Rolf was right on her heels in fifth (28.24), while Hilley finished eighth overall in 29.26.
On the men's side, sophomore David Haake came away with Wittenberg's only event title after he stopped the clock in the 400-meter hurdles with a season-best time of 57.78 seconds in the event. Senior Kyle Farnbauch also posted a pair of strong performances on is Senior Day in Springfield, finishing second behind Haake in the 400 hurdles with a time of 58.83, while also taking third in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.71. Junior Garrin Bachinski also posted top-eight finishes in both hurdle events, placing fourth in the 400 in 1:02.94 and fifth in the 110 event with a time of 16.57, while sophomore Zach Guyer finished fourth overall in the 110 with a time of 15.97 seconds.
A trio of athletes scored points for the men's team in distance events on the afternoon, led by a pair of fourth-place showings. First, freshman Cullen Sainey finished fourth in the 1,500-meter run with a season-best time of 4:19.06, before senior Evan Schreiber placed fourth in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 17:31.79. Freshman Ryan Zimmerman also finished in eighth overall in the 1,500 with a time of 4:25.35.
Two athletes cracked the top-eight in the 400, with sophomore Austyn Albanese placing sixth in 53.26 and freshman Joshua Finkeldey finishing eighth in 54.62, while junior Brandon Johnson posted a pair of top-eight showings in the sprint events. Johnson placed seventh in the 200 in 23.47 and eighth overall in the 100 with a time of 11.47 seconds. In the relay events, the men finished second in the 4x400 (3:32.15) and second in the 4x100 in 43.94 seconds.
In addition, seven men's athletes finished the day with top-eight performances in field events, led by senior D'Anthony Dorsey and Guyer both earning second-place showings in an event. Dorsey was the runner-up in the hammer with a toss of 45.58 meters, while Guyer took second in the pole vault after clearing 2.48 meters. Dorsey also finished fifth in the shot put with a distance of 14.10 meters, while junior Jonathan Seay and senior Curtis Quimby finished behind Dorsey in the hammer competition, with Seay finishing fourth (42.56 meters) and Quimby placing fifth overall with a throw of 40.07 meters.
In the jumping events, junior Jaycee Perry took fourth in the high jump at a height of 1.75 meters, while Guyer took sixth in the long jump with a leap of 6.09 meters. Freshman Paul Varnadoe was the seventh-place finisher in both the long and high jump competitions with marks of 6.02 meters and 1.70 meters, respectively, while freshman Grant Shepardson finished eighth overall in the triple jump with a leap of 12.24 meters.
Wittenberg will wrap up the regular season next weekend at a pair of events, with the bulk of the team competing at the Denison Big Red Invitational on Friday in Granville. In addition, a small subset of the team will travel to Oberlin on Saturday and Sunday for the 2019 NCAC Multi-Events Championships.