Relay teams break long-standing records

Jody Michael

As the track and field athletes were polishing their performances for next week’s conference championships, the Kent State Tune-Up ended on a high note when both 4×800 meter relay teams earned first place and broke long-standing school records.

The women’s team of sophomore Audrey Maheu, freshman Melinda Sawnor, and seniors Kelly Gephart and Jessica Lhotsky went first and finished in 9:00.20, 13 seconds faster than the 17-year record.

The men answered by eclipsing a mark that had been in the record book for 38 years. Freshman Steve Fischer, sophomore Colin Pettiford, sophomore Patrick Gorby and junior Destin Heasley ran their race in 7:38.12, topping the previous record by three seconds.

Kent State coach Bill Lawson said although that particular event is hardly ever run anymore (the NCAA discontinued its use at the national level in 1994), breaking those school records is a big feat.

“They were having a lot of fun,” Lawson said. “They beat marks that were set by great relay teams that had All-Americans on them.”

Sophomore Princeton Bryson earned an NCAA provisional qualifying mark in the men’s 200-meter dash. He won his race in 21.14 seconds, a personal best.

He was one of several Flashes to improve their individual performances in the final meet before next week’s Mid-American Conference Indoor Championships.

“I held my breath (during his race), but he proved he feels great and he should be able to rock and roll next weekend,” Lawson said. “We are going to need him.”

Bryson is the sixth Kent State athlete this year to provisionally qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships. The others are Heasley (men’s 800-meter run), Dean Wood and Kenneth Agee (men’s high jump), Diana Dumitrescu (women’s pentathlon) and Alex Lizarribar (women’s 5000-meter run).

Wood and Dumitrescu, both sophomores, also took first place in their respective events. Wood boosted his qualifying mark up to 7’1.5” in winning the high jump, and Dumitrescu won the women’s triple jump with a distance of 40’6.25”, also a personal best.

Other first-place finishers in the women’s events included Lhotsky in the 1000- meter run, junior Ava Haynes in the 60-meter hurdles and senior Samantha Fetter in the shot put.

The Flashes travel to Central Michigan this weekend looking to win top honors in the conference, with the men’s team going for a second consecutive title.

“I’m not going to make predictions,” Lawson said, “but if we can take a snapshot of our performances from the last three weeks, we’re going to do a great job.”

Contact sports reporter Jody Michael at [email protected].