Out of the blocks

Craig Vanderkam and Craig Vanderkam

BG track coach Cami Wells hinted prior to last weekend’s UT Collegiate Challenge she expected more success during the outdoor season due to her team’s depth in throwing events. The Falcons proved true to their coach’s words as they finished first overall in the Challenge, beating conference rivals Central Michigan and Toledo in the process. Seven of eight first place finishes for BG were in field events. Senior Whitney Hartman (discus throw, hammer throw) and sophomore Brittani McNeal (long jump, triple jump) each had two first place finishes. ‘I was very pleased with the performance of the team this weekend,’ Wells said. ‘It was a complete team effort with everyone getting out and competing hard and starting off the outdoor season in a positive direction.’ In total, the team set 37 new personal bests for the outdoor season. This is in part due to the team being so young and being the first outdoor competition for many athletes, accounting for more personal bests than usual, Wells said. Among the most significant improvements were Paige Lane, a sophomore, who won the javelin for the Falcons, throwing 36.3 meters and setting a personal best by 19 feet. TaKarra Dunning, a senior, set a new personal best in the hammer throw. Her mark of 51.86 meters eclipsed her previous best by 20 feet. In addition, Dunning, with a shot put throw of 14.59 meters, earned a qualifying spot for the NCAA Regionals. Wells was pleased with the overall team effort but emphasized the field events as the best part of the weekend. ‘There were contributions from every area of the team but the field events were a highlight for us,’ Wells said. ‘Winning seven of the eight events this weekend was a great start for those young ladies.’ This weekend, the Falcons will head north to take part in the Detroit Mercy Titan Classic.