SALEM, Va. (Jan. 26, 2019) – Five winners and a handful more top 10 finishes and national qualifying marks highlighted the Milligan College track & field No. 29 women and No. 38 men through the second day of the Finn Pincus Invitational, hosted by Roanoke College, Saturday.
Sophomore Tim Thacker picked up the newest national qualifying mark, running well under the “A” standard in the 1000-meter final with a time of 2:32 while also setting a new lifetime best. His mark was third in the NCAA-heavy event and currently ranks No. 3 in the NAIA.
“I don’t think anyone was surprised with Tim’s performance today,” Head Coach Chris Layne said. “This is a beautiful facility, but overall it’s not a fast surface so I think that speaks to how well he ran today.”
Shortly after Thacker’s effort, junior Erica Stone, freshman Bekah Owen and sophomore Valentina Kenjeres went one-two-three in the women’s 1000-meter final, the first of two times the trio earned the top three spots in an event. Stone ran a 3:04.88, followed by personal bests of 3:06.15 and 3:13.60 from Owen and Kenjeres.
Stone, Owen and Kenjeres later did the same in the 600-meter final, running to the top three spots with times of 1:43.10, 1:44.16 and 1:45.80, respectively.
NATIONAL QUALIFYING MARKS
Other national qualifying marks came from a pair of Buffs who had already posted national qualifying marks in their events earlier this season. Senior Liz Maller grabbed two of them, winning the weight throw with a 17.28-meter toss and finishing runner-up in the shot put with a 13.13-meter toss. Both marks hit the national “A” standard, although Maller already did so with a Milligan record 17.37m throw (weight throw) and a 13.41m throw (shot put) two weeks ago at ETSU.
Maller’s effort in the weight throw final was No. 2 for her all-time and her best mark in the Bast-Cregger facility.
Milligan’s final national qualifying mark came from junior Tons Ferguson, who took only one attempt on the day yet finished fifth in the triple jump. Ferguson recorded a 14.35m result which hit the “A” standard.
MORTIMER ALSO A WINNER | SEVERAL BUFFS TOP 10
Alex Mortimer joined Thacker, Stone (twice) and Maller as Milligan’s winners. Mortimer competed twice on the day, finishing fourth in the mile with a 4:31.50, but the sophomore transfer from University of Kentucky also picked up a win at the end of the day in the 3000-meter final.
Mortimer’s time of 9:01.82 in the 3000 meters helped him win the event by less than three seconds. Senior Eric Shull followed close behind Mortimer in both the mile and 3k with times of 4:34.31 and 9:14.93, respectively, to pick up top 10 finishes in each event. Shull’s time in the 3k was a new lifetime best. Junior Seth Nicol also earned a spot in the top 10 in the mile, running 4:34.53.
Other top 10 results for Milligan included three women in the 3000 meters. Sophomore Amy Ferguson earned runner-up with a time of 10:50.23. Junior Hannah Bell and freshman Kelsey Mowrey finished sixth and ninth in 11:03.89 and 11:18.40.
Freshman Gabrielle Mardis earned top 10 twice. She ran a 5:29.91 in the mile final before posting a 2:32.12 in the 800 final. Fellow freshman Avery DeWolf followed on Mardis’ heels both times, grabbing a ninth-place finish in the mile with a personal best 5:30.38 and 11th-place finish in the 800 with a 2:33.78.
Thacker, sophomore Ronan Philippot, Ferguson and freshman Noah Bise rounded out the highlights for Milligan. Thacker, in addition to his national qualifying third-place finish in the 1k, finished third in the 600 with a 1:26.76. Philippot took sixth and seventh, respectively, in the 400 meters (50.63) and 200 meters (22.83). In fact, Philippot won his section and recorded his second best ever mark indoors over 400 meters. Ferguson and Bise went eight-nine in the long jump with marks of 6.55 meters and 6.53 meters.
“This was the largest squad we’ve ever put on the road together, and it was really neat to see orange every time you turned around,” Layne said. “Roanoke College did a great job with this event, and the meet served us well across the board.”
Milligan will send split squads to Camel City and ETSU next Friday-Saturday, Feb. 1-2, in the final tune-up prior to the Appalachian Athletic Conference Indoor Championships (Feb. 14-15) and NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships (Feb. 28 – March 1).
Story and Photo courtesy of Milligan Athletics