Record-breaking season continues for track teams at Virginia Challenge


Grace Tennant competing in the discus.

Brandon Lewis

Nicole Yeargin ran a personal-best 54.76 in the 400m dash April 13 at the Tennessee Relays.

Saturday, she broke that record by less than a second.

The junior from Maryland clocked a time of 54.00 in the 400m dash at the Virginia Challenge. The time is the second-best time in the Mid-American Conference.

Assistant Coach Laron Brown credits Yeargin’s success to her fitness.

“Her racing endurance is phenomenal,” Brown said. “She’s in her third year now as well, so she has experience racing, but she knows how to pace herself, so she can get faster every time she races.”

Christian Champen earned his second runner-up finish of the outdoor season in the men’s pole vault with a top height of 16’-11.50”. Champen has placed in the top three of all four outdoor events so far this season.

Champen said while his results are consistent with what he’s put up this season, consistency is not his goal.

“I’m a little disappointed in myself this weekend,” Champen said. “I was hoping to have a personal best of 18’. I’m hoping I break through next week.”

Champen said in order to meet his goal, he has to just keep trying.

“I have to stay the course,” Champen said. “I have to trust my training, and I have to be able to go into each competition with a positive attitude regardless of the circumstances and hope I improve each time.”

Talia Falco added her name to the Kent State record books Saturday, finishing with the 10-best mark all time in the women’s jump with a score of 5’-7.75,” good enough for third place in the competition. It was Falco’s first time competing in the women’s jump during the outdoor season. Brown said Falco is a special talent.

“She is very athletic and naturally gifted in multiple events,” Brown said. “She usually excels in any event we put her in, and having that versatility is great for the team. She has a great attitude during competition which makes her easy to coach.”

Grace Tennant placed fourth in the women’s discus with a top throw of 16’-7” while in the men’s hammer throw, Jake Wickey had a personal-best score of 195’-3,” which was good enough for fourth place.

Kent State’s top individual performers on the track included Clark Bookman, Rachel Banks and MiAngel Daniels. Bookman finished 13 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a score of 9:12.38 while Banks finished 18 in the 800-meter invitational with a score of 2:10.33 and Daniels finished 19 in the 100-meter hurdles with a score of 14.10.

Friday morning, Zavien Parker clocked a personal-best 48.71 to take fifth in the men’s 400-meter run. Kalli Barrett also placed fifth in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 11:28.52 in the day’s first race.

Kent State will head to the Jesse Owens Relays at Ohio State University April 26-27.

Brandon Lewis is a sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected].