One last tune-up for track and field before MAC Championships

Steven Voicik

The Kent State Track and Field team had several strong performances Saturday at the Kent State Tune-Up, a meet designed for athletes to hone their skills for future events. Kent State used the event to prepare for the Mid-American Conference Championships next weekend. For the Flashes, the atmosphere during Saturday’s event was different than most.

“This event was a little more relaxed than usual,” said Kent State sophomore sprinter Sha-Tira Snell.

Coaches opted to rest many athletes and competed with only two-thirds of their regular roster. The competition included smaller schools than usual, including Ashland, Tiffin, Allegheny College and Heidelberg College.

In the men’s 35-pound weight throw, four Flashes set personal-best marks. Senior Andy Nicholas placed second, finishing with a distance of 20.49 meters. And with a mark of 19.97, junior Jaroslaw Zakrzewski finished third, just behind Nicholas. Senior John Harper finished fourth with a throw of 18.67 meters.

“The guys gave our team a huge boost with their performance,” assistant coach Nathan Fanger said. “This is exactly how you want to perform so close to the MAC championships.”

Kent State junior LeVania Henderson captured first place in the women’s shot put with a mark of 15.13 meters.

Senior Marc Johnson topped more than 55 runners, as he claimed first in the men’s 55-meter dash with a final time of 6.20 seconds. Johnson, who posted an NCAA provisional mark in the 60-meter dash earlier in the season, is eligible to qualify for the National Championships in March.

“Marc is one of a number of athletes who has a chance to qualify for the National Championships,” said coach Bill Lawson.

Junior Nick Ivancic also placed well for the Flashes. Ivancic competed in both the 55-meter hurdle and 300-meter hurdle events, finishing second and first, respectively.

“I ran the 300 a little relaxed, and took it easy, but I was still happy with the result,” he said.

Ivancic, who admitted he banged his knee on a hurdle in the 55-meter event, still finished second.

With her mother and grandmother encouraging her from the grandstands, Snell claimed second place in the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 8.37 seconds.

“I am happy with my finish in the hurdles. It was nice have some family here but didn’t bother me too much. I just tried to tune everything out and focus on my race,” Snell said.

Snell liked the set-up for the meet and said it helped prepare her for the MAC Championships.

Contact track and field reporter Steve Voicik at [email protected].