Wooster, Ohio- Highlighted by five total individual event titles, the Wittenberg men's and women's indoor track & field teams opened the 2019 portion of their schedule with a pair of runner-up finishes at the College of Wooster's Fighting Scots Invitational. The women's team finished just three points behind host Wooster to finish second overall with 128.5 points, while the men's team finishes with 111 team points, trailing only Wooster's leading total of 166.
For the women's team, three different athletes picked up individual event titles on the day, led by junior Alexis Gray breaking the tape in the 800-meter run with a winning time of 2:22.88, which is currently the best time logged in the event this year by an NCAC runner. In addition to Gray, sophomore Marteana Newton topped the field in the 400-meter run with a time of 1:05.20, while classmate Hannah Eley took home gold in the women's weight throw with a heave of 14.25 meters. Sophomore Alexis Johnson also shined for the Tigers in the field events, finishing second in the triple jump with a combined distance of 10.18 meters, and placing third overall in the long jump with a leap of 4.92 meters. Sophomore Erika Bournival also added a third-place finish in the mile with a time of 5:37.99, while freshman Stevie Plikerd displayed her versatility at Wooster on Saturday by finishing third overall in both the 60-meter dash (8.41) and the women's shot put with a toss of 10.58 meters.
"It was great to finally be back in action after a long break from competition," said head coach Paris Hilliard. "Our team really competed hard today and it was great to knock off some of the rust from the lengthy time away from competition."
On the men's side, junior Brandon Johnson picked up a pair of individual event titles in the sprinting events, starting by breaking the tape in the 60-meter dash in 7.20 seconds, before stopping the clock first in the 200-meter dash with a time of 23.43. Johnson was not alone in the 200 field as senior Kyle Farnbach finished just two spots behind him in third-place with a time of 24.24. Two additional men's athletes added second-place finishes for the Tigers on the day, including sophomore Austyn Albanese in the 400-meter run (53.57) and freshman Paul Varnadoe in the long jump with a distance of 6.31 meters. Varnadoe also finished third overall in the high jump after clearing the bar at a height of 1.80 meters. The final four third-place finishes were split evenly down the middle between running and field event athletes. In the lane lines, junior Garrin Bachinski posted a time of 9.23 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles, while freshman Ryan Zimmerman clocked a time of 4:45.25 in the mile run. Despite finishing third overall in the event, senior D'Anthony Dorsey set the school record in the men's weight throw with a heave of 15.86 meters, while junior Jonathan Seay added his third-place finish in the shot put with a distance of 13.51 meters.
The Wittenberg indoor track & field teams will stay close to home next weekend as they make the short trek down to Cedarville, Ohio, for the Cedarville University Invitational on Friday afternoon (2/1) at 3:30 p.m.