Track and field: 11 Flashes earn first place at Northeast Ohio Open

Michael Neenan, Reporter

Eleven athletes on Kent State’s Track and Field team finished in first place at the Northeast Ohio Invitational in Akron this weekend.

The first-place finishers included six from the men’s team and five from the women’s team.

“We actually had some pretty good PRs overall,” coach Nathan Fanger said. “But we were not necessarily competition ready.”

The team was originally supposed to compete at Duke University but were unable to attend.

In first place for the men’s 100-meter dash was junior Dejon Manning who ran a 10.64. Manning also placed second in the men’s 200-meter dash with a 21.36.

“I think he was probably the standout,” Fanger said. “He had really huge PRs actually.”

Senior Asa Hodrick made his outdoor debut by finishing first in the men’s 200-meter dash with a 21.13 and was 1/100th of a second behind Manning for first place in the men’s 100-meter dash with 10.65.

Senior Jonathan Solomon ran a 47.59 to place first in the men’s 400-meter dash, just short of his personal record of 47.58.

Freshman Dylan McBride topped the men’s 800-meter dash with a time of 1:52.08.

Both 400-meter hurdle events saw a Flash earn first place.

Junior Alexandria Verbancic finished with a time of 1:01.40 for the women’s event, while senior Shakorie Davis II recorded a 54.08.

For the women’s shot put, redshirt sophomore Aliesha Shaw placed first with a distance of 14.69 meters.

“It’s awesome to see Verbancic compete well, it’s awesome to see Dejon compete well and Aliesha Shaw,” Fanger said. “It just shows that they’re ready to compete and that’s a big aspect of what we do. But we’re also far from being ready to be in MAC type of competition-ready.”

Both triple jump events were led by Flashes. Sophomore Alexandre Malanda landed at 15.41 meters for the men’s event while freshman Lanee Hall jumped for 11.6 meters.

On the women’s high jump, junior Lillie Franks came in first place and matched her personal record of 1.73 meters.

The last KSU athlete to place first was freshman Keeli Dunaway who competed in the women’s long jump with a distance of 5.35 meters.

After the meet, Fanger said that he felt the team’s overall performance was much better than last weekend.

“Last week was a very frigid day out, actually much cooler than this one with the winds,” Fanger said. “In comparison, I would say last week was a C- to D+. This week is more of a B-.”

Fanger also mentioned that the team needs to shake off the “outdoor rust” and be race ready for outdoor competition.

Looking ahead, all but the multis and distance runners on the team are scheduled to compete at the Cherry Blossom Invitational on Saturday in Athens, OH.

According to Fanger, the multis will be traveling to Indiana State, while the distance runners will travel to Azusa Pacific University in California.

Michael Neenan is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].