Slowed by weather

Josh Johnston

Men’s and women’s track fall to Akron in rainy conditions

Sophomore thrower Kearran Capers competes in the hammer throw Saturday afternoon in the Akron Quad. The Flashes as a team placed second with 175 points, behind the Akron Zips with 197. Elizabeth Myers | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys

Northeast Ohio’s weather might have slowed the Kent State track and field team Friday and Saturday, but it didn’t stop them.

Cold and intermittent rain battered the Flashes as they competed against Ashland, Youngstown State and Akron at the Northeast Ohio Quad meet hosted by Akron.

The men’s team finished second and the women’s team finished third. Akron’s men and women both took first. Coach Bill Lawson said the team wasn’t focused on the standings though.

“This is the workhorse, blue collar part of the season where people are running off-distance races,” he said. “We held a number of people out, whether it’s resting or protecting them from injury or the weather.”

Kent State’s coaches scratched runners from races throughout Saturday. Sophomores Brooke Sposito and Jessica Lhotsky sat out their races along with the men’s steeplechase runners and others.

Sophomore Curtis Eaton Jr., a key sprinter for the men, pulled out of the 400-meter dash but still contributed to the team by placing first in the 200-meter dash in 21.71 seconds.

“Eaton ran fantastic in this horrid weather,” Lawson said. “(His time) certainly bodes well for later in the season.”

Eaton also had a hand in the men’s 4×400-meter relay win. Joining Eaton on the relay team was senior Nick Ivancic and freshmen Destin Heasley and Matt Moffett.

Ivancic also took an individual win in the 400-meter hurdles. Running side-by-side with Akron’s K.C. LaCross, Ivancic sprinted to the finish line after Lacross tripped over the second to last hurdle.

Also in the hurdles, junior Sha’tira Snell won the women’s 100-meter hurdles, but missed regional qualifying by one hundredth of a second. Her time of 13.93 broke her previous personal best.

After missing the regional qualifying mark last week, senior Shamel Smith earned it Friday with a jump of 6 feet, 10 3/4 inches. Smith said the cold weather wasn’t going to stop him.

“Competing in this type of weather for four years, I’m used to it,” he said. “I know I just have to get out there and get it done.”

The men’s and women’s long distance runners showed off their depth in the 3,000-meter run, with the women taking second and third and the men sweeping the top three. Freshman Scott Hilditch said he, sophomore Aiman Scullion and junior Tony Jordanek came into the meet confident.

“We walked in thinking, ‘there’s a good Akron guy,'” he said, “but we figured we could put three guys in front of him.”

The three men went wire-to-wire to sweep the race, strategically switching places while running.

“It’s tactics with this weather,” Jordanek said. “We’re just trying to help each other conserve our energy. That way we could finish 1-2-3.”

Hilditch outsprinted Jordanek in the end to take first by three hundredths of a second. Scullion came in seconds later at 8 minutes, 41.45 seconds.

For the women, seniors Stephanie Blackstone and Tiffany Brenneman finished two-three in the 3,000. Lawson credited distance coach Mark Croghan for the success.

“Coach Croghan had a very good plan with strength training today,” Lawson said. “It worked out well for them, and they all did a very good job.”

Lawson said because of the weather, the team didn’t perform to its full potential.

“There’s value to this meet,” he said, “no doubt about that, but in inclement weather you can’t get too selfish and too bold to where you risk someone getting hurt. Our focus is two weeks from now at the Drake Relays and then two more weeks at the MAC Championships.”

Track and Field results

Northeast Ohio Quad

Akron, Ohio



Sha-Tira Snell 100-meter hurdles

Nia Henderson shot put

Bekah Stoltz javelin


John Minen 800-meter run

Nick Ivancic 400-meter hurdles

Curtis Eaton Jr. 200-meter dash

Scott Hilditch 3,000-meter run

Ivancic, Destin Heasley, Matt Moffett, Eaton 4×400-meter relay

Shamel Smith high jump

Team standings


1. Akron

2. Ashland

3. Kent State

4. Youngstown State


1. Akron

2. Kent State

3. Ashland

4. Youngstown State

Contact sports correspondent Josh Johnston at [email protected].