“The University of Akron track and field team split up over the weekend, sending athletes to both the Texas Relays in Austin and the Duke Invitational in Durham, N.C. Weather conditions in Austin hurt performances for all teams, but the Zips did not leave empty-handed.””
The University of Akron track and field team split up over the weekend, sending athletes to both the Texas Relays in Austin and the Duke Invitational in Durham, N.C.
Weather conditions in Austin hurt performances for all teams, but the Zips did not leave empty-handed.
Athletes were grouped into A and B sections. The A section held the top athletes in the nation and the B section was for athletes who have yet to produce top national performances.
Regardless of the two sections, head coach Dennis Mitchell said the Texas Relays is the most elite meet of the season for the Zips.
Some of the B athletes do much better than the bottom half of the A athletes, he said.
In the A section, Natalie Sako placed fifth in the high jump with a jump of 5-10 3/4.
Mike Meditz broke the school record in the 400-meter hurdles and won his heat with a time of 51.73.
Throwers Auston Papay and Randall Hafner continued their success in Texas, both performing in the B section.
Papay won the shot put and qualified for the NCAA regional. He also placed 22 in the discus.
Hafner improved his regional qualifying standing with his discus throw that placed 12th.
Stevi Large continued her strong beginning to the outdoor season with a top-three finish in the hammer throw posting a mark of 59.65, which was also a personal best.
The early success for the top throwers is no surprise to throwing coach Brian Forrester.
Hafner, Papay and Large are three of our four athletes who have participated at an NCAA National Championship meet, he said. All three expect to make return trips to Sacramento (for the NCAA Championships) this season and earn the coveted title of All American.
Mitchell said the weather had a big impact on the event.
I coached at (Texas) for six years, and I never saw winter-type weather in March, let alone April, he said.
Miles away, other UA athletes were recording personal best times en route to a slew of top-10 finishes at the Duke Invitational.
Larisa Arcip placed second in the 800-meter with a time of 2:11.13 and also posted a regional qualifying time of 4:26.71 in the 1500-meter.
In the 100-meter, Tamala Perryman sprinted to a seventh place, 12.60 finish and later ran a 25.49 in the 200, which was good enough to finish ninth.
Allison Lawyer had a personal best day in the discus, throwing 144-8 and placing ninth.
After two meets, the Zips have many athletes regionally qualified and have seen others break personal-best records.
The Zips will host the Northeast Ohio Quad Saturday against rival Kent State, Youngstown and Ashland at Lee Jackson Field.