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Track and field team looks to follow up strong outing

Following a strong outing in their last meet, the Bowling Green track and field team will compete in the Akron Invitational on Friday and Saturday. The meet is one of two remaining meets before the team heads to the Mid-American Conference Championships.

“We only have two big weekends left before the championship,” said head coach Lou Snelling. “Those are really our last shots to do what we need to do and that’s going to be a little different depending on each athlete. Some we just need to work in the top 20 to secure our place at the meet and some we need to work in the top 8, or get an automatic qualifying mark.”

Currently, eight Falcons have hit an automatic qualifying mark. The team also has 27 different athletes listed in the top 20 in the MAC with a total of 29 different marks, 15 in the top 10 and another 14 in the top 20.

“We have the opportunity to send our strongest team to the MAC Indoor Championships in many years. We can make that opportunity a reality by taking advantage of the next two weekends and the level of competition we will face,” Snelling said.

As far as the shot put and weight throw, BG has one of the best programs not just in the MAC, but the country as well.

Sophomore Makenzie Wheat and redshirt freshman Aliyah Gustafson are both nationally ranked at 26 and 59 respectively, and are both favorites to take first place in the shot put this weekend. Wheat also beat and now holds the school record for the shot put with a throw of 52-feet-1, a record that stood for 21 years.

“There’s been a really big leap in my performance,” Wheat said. “I’ve gotten so much stronger and my technique is so much more finessed. In two weeks I want to place five or higher, I’m already seeded fourth so it’s a good start. We just want to keep improving and get more this year than we did last year.”

In addition to the shot put, the Falcons will continue to rely on the talent of redshirt senior Brooke Pleger. Pleger is currently ranked 12th in the nation and stays elite alongside Kori Reiser and Kayla Velasquez, who have both already passed the automatic qualifying mark.

“Brooke is in a great spot,” Snelling said. “She threw just off of her personal best and the school record last week in Findlay so everything is positive and heading in the right direction. It’s really not a matter of ‘if’ she breaks the school record, it’s a matter of ‘when’.”

In the sprints and jumps section, the Falcons also show a lot of depth and talent. Junior Alicia Arnold ranks top three in two different events for the MAC, top six on one event and has already passed the automatic qualification for each of them.

In addition, Brittany Sinclair, Becca Rae, Raven Porter and Kayla Porter are all ranked in the top 10 going into Akron.

“It’s one of our big positives this year, having more depth across the board, particularly in the sprints and jumps area,” Snelling said.

The Akron Invitational will start on Friday at 3 p.m.

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