Bad burritos burn track and field team at All-Ohio Championships

Josh Johnston

Food poisoning highlighted a weak performance by the Kent State track and field team this weekend at the All-Ohio Championship meet in Cincinnati.

Six athletes on the men’s team were among the 200 people affected by the food at Chipotle Mexican Grill this weekend, according to Kent State Athletic Communications. Seniors Jaroslaw Zakrzewski and John Harper, junior Tony Jordanek and sophomores Jeremy Brading, Aiman Scullion and Evan Whiting all became sick from the food.

Despite the sickness, Zakrzewski and Harper still competed in the hammer throw. Fighting a 103-degree temperature, Zakrzewski threw just once, but the 202-foot-11-inch throw was good enough for second place.

Harper threw a personal best 197 feet, 10 inches, which placed him fourth.

The men’s team failed to win an event but picked up six second-place finishes. In a press release, Lawson said on a whole, both the men’s and women’s did not compete well.

“We had a number of people that either didn’t perform to their capabilities or weren’t as competitive as they should have been,” he said. “We’re only going to be successful if all the parts are working together.”

Junior Joe Parker ran one of the men’s notable performances in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 9 minutes, 15.89 seconds.

“I’ve been happy with (Parker’s) consistency,” distance coach Mark Croghan said. “He’s definitely going to put it together and get the regional qualifying mark.”

On the women’s side, the Flashes had few standout performances on the weekend. Sophomores Jessica Lhotsky and Kelly Gephart were two highlights for the Flashes, both running lifetime bests in their respective events.

Lhotsky, after sitting out last weekend at Akron because of a tight hip flexor, won the 800-meter dash in 2 minutes, 11.08 seconds.

“(Lhotsky) is as tough as they come,” Lawson said. “On a very windy day, she crushed the field and beat some very good runners.”

Her time, more than a second ahead of the rest of the pack, brought her closer to earning a regional qualifying mark. Lawson said if the conditions were less windy, Lhotsky would have gotten it.

In the 1,500-meter run, Gephart finished fourth with a new personal best of 4 minutes, 38.88 seconds. Croghan said she’ll need more confidence in her running to be a regional qualifier.

“That’s the next step for her,” he said. “She just has to have a little more confidence through the middle of races. She looks better every time she goes out.”

Junior Nia Henderson and sophomore Bekah Stoltz continued their impressive outdoor seasons with wins in the discus and javelin. Henderson threw 156 feet, 2 inches to edge out teammate sophomore Brittni Borrero by five inches.

“(Henderson) is starting to groove a little bit,” Lawson said. “She’s just starting to scratch the surface of where she could be.”

Stoltz threw a season best 146 feet, 5 inches to better the field by more than ten feet.

Lawson said he hopes the team’s weak performance this weekend will give them focus for the Drake Relays later this week.

“Sometimes you have to hit your low point in order to hit a high point,” Lawson said. “That’s the thing about sports; it is a roller coaster ride. There’s a lot ups and downs, and unfortunately, we had too many low points this weekend.”

Contact sports correspondent Josh Johnston at [email protected].