No sophomore slumps for the indoor track and field team on the road

Josh Johnston

Second-year Flashes win events at Penn State

Sophomores led the way for the Kent State indoor track teams at the Sykes-Sabock Challenge at Penn State’s Ashenfelter Multi-Sport Facility this weekend.

Although the men’s and women’s teams did not finish on top – 5th out of 11 and 11th out of 13 – second-year vets Brooke Sposito, Jeremy Brading and Aiman Scullion captured first place performances for the Flashes.

Sposito ran, tossed and jumped her way to a victory in the women’s pentathlon on the first day of competition.

The pentathlon consists of the 55-meter hurdles, high jump, long jump, shot put and 800-meter run. Athletes score points based on their performance in each event.

“It’s very demanding, very fatiguing, and it takes a lot of fitness to be able to do,” coach Bill Lawson said.

Sposito broke personal records in both the 55 hurdles and the shot put in route to the win.

“I’m just trying to get better from last year,” Sposito said. “It was a good practice.”

Also on Friday, the men received an early victory when Scullion broke away from the pack to win the 5,000-meter run.

“He ran strong, took the lead in the middle of the race and never looked back,” Lawson said. “That was probably his biggest victory as a collegiate athlete.”

Scullion crossed the finish line with a time of 14 minutes, 32.71 seconds, giving himself a new personal record by four seconds.

“For this early on in the season, it’s a great time for me,” Scullion said. “I think it’ll be a good setup for the MAC championships.”

Brading won his third pole vault contest in a row on Saturday. Strong competition at the meet forced him to make his best vault of the season at 16 feet, 8 3/4 inches.

“Having a guy like Brian Hancock from Missouri that’s already jumped 17 feet indoors to push me definitely helps,” Brading said.

Another bright spot for the Flashes this past weekend was senior Anne Zakelj. In only her second week of collegiate track, the volleyball player turned track athlete cleared 5 feet, 5 1/4 inch to tie for fourth place.

“She’s coming along in just her second track meet,” Lawson said. “She’s got a great attitude, and we’re still expecting to see great things from Anne at the end of the year.”

Zakelj improved by more than 2 inches from last week’s meet against Akron.

On the men’s side, senior Shamel Smith came close again to the NCAA qualifying mark of 7 feet, 1/4 inch with a jump of 6 feet, 11 inches.

“He was knocking at the door at 7-1, but just missed it,” Lawson said. “He’s probably one of our most consistent performers.”

The indoor teams will battle Akron for the second time this season at the Akron Invitational this weekend.

Contact sports correspondent Josh Johnston at [email protected].