Sixth time’s the charm

Josh Johnston

Senior Shamel Smith jumped 7 feet, 1/4 inch at the Akron invitational. This provisionally qualified him for the NCAA indoor track and field championship. STEPHANIE DEVER | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Ron Soltys

After barely falling short in five meets, Shamel Smith provisionally qualified for the NCAA indoor track and field championships on Friday night at the Akron Open Invitational. The senior high-jumper won the event with a 7 feet, 1/4 inch performance.

“I think it was pretty good,” Smith said. “I still feel like there’s a couple more things I need to iron out.”

A provisional qualifying mark is the minimum mark needed to qualify for the championship meet. The top 16 athletes at the end of the season compete at the championships.

“(Smith) might need a little stronger of a provisional,” coach Bill Lawson said. “We’re expecting Shamel to hit a bigger mark by the end of the indoor season.”

Although his jump was a new personal best, Smith said he also expects to go higher yet this season.

“I’m an athlete who’s rarely satisfied with just PRing,” he said. “I like to win and continue to PR. Even though I did (on Friday), I’m still hungry.”

Outside of Smith’s performance, the meet was “pretty low-key,” Lawson said.

“It’s a non-scoring meet, we don’t have the whole team going,” he said. “It’s recovery week, we’re just trying to get a few performances here.”

The Flashes did get a few performances out of freshman Andrew Linebarger in the triple jump and long jump. The southern Texas native placed first and a third in his events while his mom and other relatives watched.

“I think that gave him a little emotional lift and I believe that he’s turned a corner,” Lawson said.

Linebarger’s triple jump win was also his first collegiate victory.

On the women’s side, sophomore Samantha Fetter also notched her first collegiate win in the shot put with a throw of 43 feet, 9 3/4 inches.

“We’re expecting her to start moving forward in the next couple weeks,” Lawson said. “If she does, she’ll be competitive in the MAC championships.”

At Cornell University, senior Nick Ivancic brought home a fourth-place heptathlon finish. Because Ivancic’s competition was larger than anticipated, he was told to hold back, Lawson said.

“We pulled Nick back a little bit,” Lawson said. “We didn’t have him go as hard in the 1,000.”

The heptathlon consisted of the 60-meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump, 60-meter hurdles, pole vault and 1,000 meter run.

“He just finished it out and stayed healthy,” Lawson said. “(He’ll) get ready to go next weekend at Eastern Michigan.”

Freshman Destin Heasley accompanied Ivancic to Ithaca, N.Y., finishing in 9th out of a field of 22.

The indoor track and field teams travel to Ypsilanti, Mich. to compete in the Eastern Michigan Classic next weekend.

Contact sports correspondent Josh Johnston at [email protected].