SKYHAWK TRACK SPLIT SQUAD REWRITES RECORD BOOKS AND TAKES EVENT VICTORIES
April 22, 2018
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MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin track and field program split up its squads, sending athletes to both the prestigious Bryan Clay Invitational in Azusa, Calif. and the Arkansas State Red Wolf Open in Jonesboro, Ark. over the weekend.
The Skyhawks took their men’s 5k contingent to sunny California to compete in the Bryan Clay Invitational where each representative flourished. The group each bested their lifetime records led by standout sophomore Ryan Ford and Austin Rogers. Ford won the heat with a massive PR of 14:35.83, ranking him fifth in the OVC this season. Rogers’ wasn’t far behind with a time of 14:43.43 while freshman teammate Fedrick Yiyego also broke the 15-minute barrier with a 14:47 effort.
Continuing the trend, Leonel Perez snatched the school record in the men’s 1500m run with an impressive time of 3:50.5. The time lowers Perez’s lifetime best by three seconds and puts him sixth on the OVC’s list this season. Closing out the men’s action was the performance of Jonathan Conley who lowered his 800m school record with a time of 1:51.6 which ranks as the second-fastest time in the league this season.
On the women’s side, sophomore standout Kara Martin came away with a new 800m PR with a time of 2:13.3. Her time ranks more than two seconds faster than her previous best from the first meet of the year at the Racer Open.
The rest of the squad would compete at the Arkansas Red Wolf Open over the weekend where the sprint squad took home school records. Kewan Slaton notched a new school-record in the men’s 200m with a time of 22:08 for a new PR while posting a time of 49.76 in the 400m dash. Meanwhile in the men’s 400m Darin Donnell posted a time of 52.20 seconds for a new PR.
On the women’s side, Keilla Tud notched a PR of her own in the 200m with a 26.81 effort. Jasmyn Pilcher would also post a good showing in the women’s 400m dash with a mark of 58.89 seconds.
Stretching out into the mid-distance events, freshman Daniel Smith notched a heat victory in the 1500m run with a time of 4:07.82 to pace his group.
In the women’s 5k, sophomore Lydia Lee claimed a second-place finish in the event by breaking the 18-minute barrier with a time of 17:52.6 for the first time in her outdoor career for a lifetime best. Following close behind were teammates Nelly Kandie (18:02.24) and Natalie Motor (18:58.19) who both tallied lifetime bests. On the men’s side, freshman Lenny Baumann claimed the win and a lifetime best with a time of 15:27.92 in the 5k. Leading the field the entire distance, the youngster proves to be an athlete to watch in the future.
“I really believe this is the season that will be looked back on, as the beginning of a new elite era from UTM track,” UT Martin head coach Peter Dalton said. “The coaching staff and I continue to challenge the athletes and they respond every time with top level performances. We’re excited about the season so far but we are certainly not satisfied just yet with the OVC championships just around the corner.”
UT Martin will wrap up the regular season on Friday, April 27 at the Memphis Invitational.