Prior to the start of the 2007 outdoor track and field season, Kent State coach Bill Lawson predicted that the weekend’s meets at Duke and Texas would be two of the most important of the season. And one reason for that is the top-notch competition.
According to trackwire.com, the women’s teams at Texas and Duke are currently ranked 12th and 24th in the nation, and on the men’s side, Texas is currently ranked 14th.
“These two meets will be turning points in our season and be a good evaluation of where our team is against some of the top teams in the nation,” Lawson said.
Prior to the match, Lawson said he anticipated a tough test for the distance runners at the Duke Invitational, but the Flashes responded well Friday in the 10,000-meters, finishing three runners in the top 20 and two in the top five.
Senior Seth Hutchinson claimed first place in the event with a time of 30:13.01. Hutchinson ousted the competition as he finished nearly three seconds ahead of his nearest competitor.
In addition to Hutchinson, senior Ben Wietmarschen finished fifth in the event with a time of 30:33.58, a career-best time by more than 30 seconds. Senior Ryan Spellman finished 17th with a time of 31:13.81, also a personal-best time.
“Our runners have done very well. Coach (Mark) Croghan has done an outstanding job with them,” Lawson said in a release on the Kent State Sports Web site.
Senior Stephanie Blackstone finished third in the 10,000-meter with a time of 37:11.38.
A contingent of athletes also traveled to Austin, Texas this weekend to participate in the 80th annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays held at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
Sophomore Tony Jordanek paced the Flashes, taking first place in the men’s 1500-meter run with a time of 3:52.28.
The Flashes had two top-10 finishers in the men’s 800-meter run. Senior Mike Inge finished second in the with a time of 1:51:15 and fellow senior Ray Armstrong finished 10th at 1:52:29.
Senior Chris Caine finished seventh in the decathlon, battling through a sprained ankle that he suffered during warm-ups. His point total of 6987 was good for an NCAA provisional mark.
The Flashes are on the road again Friday, as they will travel to Akron to compete in the Akron Quad.
Contact track and field reporter Steven Voicik at [email protected]