Flashes shine in Jesse Owens Track Classic despite bad weather

Richie Mulhall

Bill Lawson, Kent State track and field head coach, said Wednesday that his team would run fast and throw far in the Jesse Owens Track Classic this weekend if the weather permitted. Well, the weather was gloomy and cold, but the team still managed to pull through and shined brightly despite the unfavorable conditions.

With more than 35 colleges represented by both collegiate and post-collegiate athletes, the Kent State track and field team had an outstanding showing at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Track Classic, held at Jesse Owens Memorial Track in Columbus. Lawson said the women’s team especially had good performances, turning in four first-place finishes during the two-day event.

“The team across the board, both men and women, did a pretty good job considering the conditions,” Lawson said. “[The weather] was brutal. The wind-chill was below 32 degrees.”

Lawson said the poor weather conditions not only affected his team, but all the other teams competing as well. There were a lot of athletes from different teams restricted from hitting their best marks, but Lawson said he still saw a solid effort from the team overall.

“The conditions are not conducive to great track performances, but even with that being said, we still had some decent efforts,” Lawson said.

Lawson said both the women’s and men’s throwing teams did well, including freshman Danniel Thomas, who won the discus throw with a toss of 171 feet, 1 inch, and sophomore Matthias Tayala, who broke his personal record with a 211-06 in the hammer throw and received third place.

Jackie Lepplemeier, who broke the school record for the hammer throw with a toss of 199-05 and third-place finish, attributed the throwing team’s success to their coach Nathan Fanger, whom she said really knows how to coach the good group of athletes.

“We train together and we feed off of each other, and when one person has a good performance, it really sets us all up to have confidence and all throw well,” Lepplemeier said.

Senior Brian Florek took second in the javelin throw with a toss of 211-02. Lawson said he had some great throws, but the wind had something to say about them.

“The wind was just coming up over the hill and knocking [the javelin] to the ground,” Lawson said. “He easily would have thrown another five meters if it had been a decent day.”

Up-and-coming freshman Dior Delophont won her first open high jump of the outdoor season with ease, jumping 5-10.50.

Contact Richie Mulhall at [email protected].