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Track and field looks to improve, move up in MAC before championship


Track Hurdler makes her way over the hurdles in the Tom Wright Open earlier this season.


The BG Track and Field team started and finished strong at the Akron invitational track meet Friday and Saturday.

The competing Falcons set new personal bests on the first and on the second. This sets them up for a good spot as they approach the Mid-American Conference Indoor championship.

On the first day, long jumper Krystin Reiser, along with the other Falcons, all broke their previous records.

In the pentathlon, Reiser came in the top four in three of the five events and finished in fourth overall with a total of 3,438 points. This is over 100 points more than her previous record of 3,275 which was set back in December.

Head track and field coach Lou Snelling was glad to see her, along with the other long jumpers, do well on the even and progress as they go into the MAC championships.

“It was good, it was a positive start,” he said. “She took some good steps and it solidified her chance of scoring some points in the MAC qualifiers.”

Senior long jumper Dena Gates came in third with a jump of 17’11”. Not only did she break her season best by 8 inches, she also passed her jump 17’9.75’ from the MAC championship a year ago.

Snelling was impressed to see her continue the positive trend for the Falcons. He said that her progression has been solid and that he hoped to see more out of her at Grand Valley next week.

“She’s been solid this year,” he said. “I would like to see more of her at Grand Valley.”

Freshmen Connor Kempf and Raven Porter kept the momentum going for the Falcons in the long jump. Kempf placed fifth with a jump of 17’9”, while Porter came in eighth with 17’4.75”, which surpassed her record of 17’4.25”.

In the discus, an event that is normally played in outdoor events, freshman Makenzie Wheat placed third with a team best throw of 134’8”.

On day two of the invitational, the meet was divided into blue and gold divisions, with the gold being limited to athletes who met harder qualification standards.

In the 5,000 event for the blue division, Kelsey Cogan helped the Falcons’ start on a high note by coming in sixth with a personal best time of 19:55.71.

Freshman Lindsay Kaatz continued the pattern when she won the mile run in the blue division with a new record of 5:14.98.

This was a big step for Kaatz, said Snelling, as she managed to get her team pumped and excited for the remainder of meet.

In the weight throw event, Brooke Pleger competed in the gold division and set a new personal best with a distance of 62’5.75”, seven inches farther than her previous best this year.

This, according to the coach, was one of the highlights of the event and for the Falcons as well.

In the gold division triple jump, Tiera Parker came in fifth place with a career-best of 38’4.25”. That was only 3 inches short of the Mid-American Conference automark.

With the success that the team showed at the event, Snelling said they’re becoming a more cohesive and balanced team than they were a year ago.

“Overall we’re a much more balanced team at this point than last year,” he said. “Going into this week’s event we have nine automarks and 19 athletes in the top 20 list, overall it’s been good progress.”

After the event the coach said the improvements in various areas of the team was what really impressed him.

“I would say that the main thing they showed me was improvements … it was nice to see improvements in different areas,” Snelling said.

Looking to next event’s track meet at Grand Valley, Snelling said that the goals are to get higher on the list for the MAC championship, get more automatic qualifying marks and get higher in the top 20 list.

“Our goals are to get higher up on the list within the MAC Indoor championship,” he said. “This is our last chance to get automarks and get higher into the top 20 list … we need to be as ready as possible and do it this weekend and get into the MAC.”

The Grand Valley State University Big Meet takes place this Friday on Feb. 14 in Allendale, Mich.

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