Flashes compete at CMU, Penn State

Jody Michael

Sophomore excels

in pentathlon

The Kent State track and field teams split up this weekend and competed in two separate locations. While most of the team headed to Central Michigan to compete in the Chippewa Invitational, Kent State coach Bill Lawson took three athletes to face tougher competition at the Penn State National.

Diana Dumitrescu finished fourth at Penn State in the women’s pentathlon with 3,902 points, an NCAA provisional qualifying mark for the sophomore. Her best finish prior to that was second place in the shot put with a distance of 41 ¼.

“The goal was to come in and get a national qualifying mark,” Lawson said. “Something higher than 3,000, and Diana finished with 3,902.”

Dumitrescu had the best finish of any collegiate competing in the women’s heptathlon. She and Tennessee’s Ellen Wortham surpassed the provisional qualifying score of 3,725.

“Diana had a pretty good, solid weekend,” Lawson said. “Only a couple of missteps.”

Joining Dumitrescu at Penn State were freshman Keith Hurst and sophomore Ruben Belen, who were competing in the men’s heptathlon. Hurst and Belen finished fifth and seventh, respectively.

Hurst’s best events included a third place finish in the 1000-meter run, as well as second place in the high jump.

“Keith did a good job,” Lawson said. “This was his first time competing in the heptathlon in a Kent State uniform. The first day he was slow, he was sluggish, but he did a great job.”

Belen struggled a week after scoring good marks against Akron in the 60-meter hurdles and high jump. He was unable to improve his finishes in those events.

“Ruben had a tough day,” Lawson said. “He came off last weekend with two personal bests, and he just came flat.”

At the Chippewa Invitational, the men’s team finished third among four teams, and the women took fourth place in a field of five.

Kent State will be traveling back to Central Michigan in four weeks for the Mid-American Conference indoor championships, and assistant coach Phil Rickaby said the focus was for the athletes to familiarize themselves with competing at that facility.

“This was a good dry run for the conference meet,” Rickaby said. “It was a good lesson.”

Freshman Keri Dantley won the women’s triple jump with a leap of 11.84 meters, her best this season. Sophomore Kim Preston also reached a personal best when she won the women’s pole vault at a height of 3.8 meters.

“Keri Dantley and Kim Preston each had a fantastic performance,” Rickaby said. “They were lifetime bests, and they were fantastic bests to have at the site of the conference meet.”

Two senior Kent State throwers earned victories: Samantha Fetter in the women’s shot put (15.09 meters) and Tony Connor in the men’s weight throw (18.41).

“It’s great for those two, being veterans on the team, to each win an event,” Rickaby said.

Also winning an event each on the men’s side were freshman Nathaniel Scales, finishing first in the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.95 seconds, and senior Curtis Eaton, whose 49.18-second time won the 400-meter dash.

The track teams will head to South Bend, Ind., this weekend for the Meyo Invitational, hosted by Notre Dame.

Contact sports reporter Jody Michael at [email protected].