GREENE COUNTY — Some long standing records fell in California, Division II standards were met and a pair of All-Ohio titles were won, during weekend track and field action for Cedarville University’s athletes.
The Cedarville men’s track & field team won the team title among Division II/NAIA schools at the All-Ohio Outdoor Track & Field Championship hosted by the University of Cincinnati, and the women’s team tied with the University of Findlay for the women’s team title.
Meanwhile, there was a nine-person contingent of Yellow Jackets (Carsyn Koch, Kayla Casaletto, Christy Jesson, Alaina Peppers, Olivia Esbenshade among the women; Daniel Michalski, Ethan Gatchell, Wyatt Hartman and Tim De Jong among the men) out in California competing in two big collegiate meets.
At the Azusa Pacific Bryan Clay Invitational, Koch improved upon her own school record by more than 12 seconds (4:12.19) in the women’s 1,500-meter run.
The performance is the second-fastest time in NCAA Division II history trailing only the 4:11.06 by Seattle Pacific’s Jessica Pixler at the 2010 Mt. SAC Relays. It also set new APU Stadium and invitational records by nearly three seconds. There were 274 total runners in 17 heats of the 1,500.
Koch easily met the NCAA Division II automatic qualifying standard. She now has the top time in the country by more than seven seconds.
Esbenshade hit the D-II provisional qualifying mark with personal-best times in two events. She placed 14th of 145 competitors in the 800 meters in 2:09.11 – the 8th-fastest time in school history. Esbenshade also turned in a 4:28.89 effort in the 1,500 which ranks fifth all-time at Cedarville.
In the men’s competition, Michalski broke one of the oldest marks in the Yellow Jacket record book. His time of 8:52.01 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase took more than three seconds off of the previous record of 8:55.37 set by Brian Hull at the 1977 NAIA Championships. It also set new APU Cougar Stadium and Bryan Clay Invitational records.
Michalski met the Division II automatic qualifying mark with his effort. He became the school’s first men’s NCAA All-American last year in the event with an eighth-place finish at the national meet. He now owns seven of the top eight times on the Yellow Jackets’ all-time list.
The steeplechase mark was CU’s second-oldest record. Mark Green’s 400 meter time of 47.64 seconds set in 1975 remains the oldest.
Michalski narrowly missed another school record as four Yellow Jackets hit the track on the final day of the meet. He covered the 1,500 meters in a personal-best 3:46.71. He was just 0.52 seconds shy of the CU mark of 3:46.19 set by Daniel Roberts at the 2007 NAIA Outdoor Championship.
Michalski still met the NCAA Division II provisional qualifying standard with the second-fastest time in school history. He finished 50th of 277 competitors.
Hartman was clocked in 3:54.70 in the 1,500 while Gatchell turned in a PR of 4:01.24. Earlier, Gatchell posted a career-best in the 800 with a mark of 1:53.81. De Jong finished in 1:55.22.
Roughly 24 hours after the Azusa Pacific meet, Koch was at it again. This time, the Yellow Jacket junior turned in a time of 2:06.36 in the 800 meters to meet the NCAA Division II automatic qualifying standard at the Mt. SAC Relays in Torrance, Calif. Koch’s time is the second-fastest Division II time in the country this spring.
She is the defending national champion in the event and owns the fastest 800 time in Division II history of 2:02.39 set last year at the Stanford University Payton Jordan Invitational.
Meanwhile in Cincinnati, the Cedarville men’s team finished first among DII/NAIA schools at the All-Ohio Outdoor Track & Field Championships, held at the University of Cincinnati.
The Yellow Jackets totaled 233 points. Findlay was the runner-up with 155 points and Shawnee State was next at 93.
Josiah Bernard won the high jump with a leap of 6-2 (1.88 meters). Kevin Knox was victorious in the javelin with a mark of 164-8 (50.20m).
Two other Yellow Jackets were winners during Friday’s opening day. The tandem included Samuel Tvardzik in the triple jump (43-6.25; 13.27m) and Ethan Sullivan in the 10,000 (32:32.43).
“We had several strong performances this weekend and our depth was a real asset for us in the team victories. I thank the Lord for safe trips back and forth to the meet and for the beautiful weather over Easter weekend,” said CU track coach Jeff Bolender.
In women’s competition at UC, Cedarville tied Findlay with 152.50 points. Central State was third with 74.
Carly Rose and Sarah Hoffman each won individual events and were part of the winning 1,600-meter relay squad. Rose took the 800 meters in 2:15.33 while Hoffman was first in the 1,500 in 4:42.92. The duo paired up with Kacy Dunn and Vivianna Hein to win the relay in 4:10.52.
Nicole Perez won the 3,000 meter steeplechase in 11:10.17 and Amanda Edwards was first in the pole vault by clearing 10-4 (3.15 meters).
Cedarville’s next meet will take place Friday April 21 at the Otterbein Invitational.
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