Track team looks to continue success at Ohio Inviational

Josh Echt

The Kent State track team heads to Ohio today and tomorrow to compete in the 10-team Ohio Invitational in Athens.

“The Ohio meet will give our team a good feel for where it is at,” coach Wendel McRaven said. “The nature of the schedule focuses on the team and individual.”

McRaven said the meets at Ohio this weekend and Miami next weekend will focus on the team. Other meets will be geared to individual competitors’ success.

The Flashes are coming off two successful meets.

Kent State sent two runners to the Stanford Invitational March 25. Senior Molly Hammer, one of those runners, placed seventh in the 10,000-meters with a school-record time of 35:27.21, while senior James Sjostrom also placed seventh in the 10,000 meters with a 30:27.82 clocking.

“The invitational is a good meet for individuals wanting to succeed at that particular event,” McRaven said. “The 10,000-[meters] is not run often.”

The meet will also provide the Flashes’ throwers an opportunity to continue their hot streak.

Two weeks ago at the Shamrock Invitational, St. Patrick’s Day lasted two extra days for four throwers on the Kent State track team.

The quartet of throwers took home two NCAA regional-qualifying marks, brushes with their personal bests and high places in each of their events. The invitational was the start of the outdoor track season.

Seniors Breann Smith and Donielle Swany placed second in the discus and third in the hammer throw, respectively. Smith’s toss of 159-8 was a NCAA regional-qualifying mark.

Freshman LeVania Henderson came in third in the shot put, while senior Julie Ward won the javelin throw with a NCAA mark of 149-9.

“It is early in the season, and you don’t want to get overly zealous,” Ward said. “You need to stay mentally prepared throughout because you can’t peak early in the season. If you get too excited early on, you might not make the throw you need when it counts later on.”

Throwers also achieved success in the men’s competition, with freshman Jaroslaw Zakrzewski achieving a 194-8 distance in the hammer throw, a NCAA qualifying mark. Junior Brent Shelby won the shot put with a throw of 52-10.75, while senior Tom Densevich placed second with a 49-5.75. Shelby also placed second in the discus. Sophomore Jake Haughn won the 5000-meters for the men’s lone track victory, clocking in at 15:16.42.

Contact track and field reporter Josh Echt at [email protected].