COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Mount Vernon Nazarene University men and women's track and field teams competed in the Jessica Starks Open hosted by Capital University Saturday afternoon. The men's team took a 2nd place finish out of 8 teams and was highlighted by Mitchell Soviak qualifying for the NAIA Indoor Nationals in the shot put. The Lady Cougars had a 5th place finish out of 7 programs.
The men's team had a total of 101 points, only 17 points behind Capital University in first.
Mitchell Soviak led the Cougars in the field events with his qualification to the NAIA National Championships in the shot put. Soviak finished second in the meet with a distance of 15.58 meters. This toss was good enough to qualify Soviak for the "B" standard in nationals, missing the "A" standard by .02 meters.
Sam Nordquist placed 2nd in the long jump with a distance of 6.92 meters. Nordquist just missed the "B" national qualifications by .03 meters.
In the running events, Carl Jones Jr. and Makai Lewis place second and third in the 60 meter dash, while Connor Whitaker places second in the 60 meter hurdles.
The 4-man team of Noah Menuez, De-Andre Steward, Nick Sharpes, and Brennan Crawford finished second in the distance medley.
The Lady Cougars finished the Jessica Starks Open in 5th place with a total of 36 points.
The Lady Cougars had strong showings in the running events with a 1st place finish by Rachel Gerber (SO), Bethany Bogantz (SR), Rebekah Mullins (JR/Laurelville, Ohio), and Abby Ellis (SO/Riverside, Ohio) in the distance melody.
Bethany Bogantz also finished 3rd in the 800 meter run with a time of 2:26.6 while McKenzie McKirgan turned in a 4th place finish in the 1,000 meter run. Tai Dawkins took 6th in the 60 meter dash, just .26 seconds behind the leader.
Thoughts from Coach Chip Wilson
"I was very proud of the way our teams prepared for each race and the effort was tremendous. I told our team that I wanted them to relax and have fun during the competition today. I saw many smiles and team encouragement throughout the meet, and that is the environment we need to thrive in this young season. We became a better team today, and I am looking forward to the continued growth of our teams."
NEXT UP FOR THE COUGARS
Both teams will travel to Denison University to compete in the Bob Shannon Invitational on February 4th.