Lawson, Yeargin win at MAC Championships

Junior TJ Lawson celebrates after finishing first in the 1000 Meters Heptathlon event with a time of 2:49.25 during the MAC Indoor Championship.

John Conley

Freshman Asa Hodrick won male Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year, and sophomore Jake Wickey defended his MAC title in the weight throw for the track and field team in the MAC Championships Saturday, Feb. 23 in the Kent State Field House.

Juniors TJ Lawson and Nicole Yeargin won their events. 

In total, the Flashes concluded the Championship in third place on the men’s side with a score of 106.5 points, while the women’s team finished sixth with 56.5 points.

Hodrick posted the fastest 200-meter time in the MAC, coming into the championships with a time of 21.13. On Saturday, Hodrick finished fourth in the 60-meter with a time of 6.88 seconds and third in the 200-meter with a time of 21.26 seconds.

Wickey finished the weight throw finals with a career-best throw of 67 feet 8 inches, a score that gained 10 points to the Flashes’ overall score. In the heptathlon, Lawson got first place with 5,427 points in his first heptathlon of 2019. Kent State sophomore Jacob Mally followed in second with 5,388 points.

“With the atmosphere electric, the louder it was, the better I did,” Lawson said. “I embraced the crowd noise and tried to do my best. Shout out to Jacob (Mally) for keeping the pressure on me during the heptathlon. He did good today, reaching a personal best in a few of the events.”

Yeargin took first in the 200-meter preliminary round with a new indoor record time of 23.75 seconds. She broke that record again in the finals with a first-place time of 23.66 seconds, another score that got 10 points for the Flashes.

“It’s about time this came, it was something I had to get over and I did it,” Yeargin said. “The championship atmosphere helped me stay focused, and I think it helped.”

“The atmosphere was fantastic,” assistant coach Laron Brown III said. “Anytime you host the championships, the energy will be there. With everything happening in the middle of the field and fans on the outside, it made for a great place to be.”

Senior Samory Fraga took second in the long jump finals, recording a height of 25 feet 2.75 inches.

Fraga came into the championships with the third-longest distance in the MAC of 25 feet 5.25 inches.

In the triple jump finals, senior Craig Stevens Jr. took second with a distance of 52 feet 2 inches. On the women’s side, junior Rachel Banks finished second in the 800-meter, clocking in with a career-best time of 2 minutes 10 seconds.

Kent State captured three All-MAC first team honors: Wickey in the weight throw, Lawson in the heptathlon and Yeargin in the 200-meter.

Five Flashes were named to the all-MAC second team, as well: Junior Rachel Banks in the 800-meter, senior Brandon Harris in the 60-meter, Fraga in the long jump, sophomore Jacob Mally in the heptathlon and Stevens in the triple jump.

Akron won the MAC team trophy on the men’s side with 156 points, while the Central Michigan women won with 114.5 points. Five teams scored on the men’s side, while 11 scored for the women.

The two-day event featured athletes showcasing their skills with some of the best in the MAC, something that wasn’t lost on the Kent State coaching staff.

“This meet is different from others because this meet matters,” Brown said. “Emotions were heightened and times were slightly slower with the championship label being there. Everything coming together is what made this weekend great.”

The 2019 NCAA Indoor Championship will be held at the University of Alabama on March 8 and 9. Results will be tallied over the next few weeks to determine who qualifies for the NCAA Indoor Championship.

After the NCAA championships, the Flashes’ outdoor season will begin toward the end of March.

John Conley is a sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected].