WMU - Track & Field Wins Bowling Green Opener

WMU - Track & Field Wins Bowling Green Opener

Provided by WMU

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio -- The Western Michigan track and field team opened up the 2016 indoor season winning the Bowling Green Opener on Saturday afternoon. The Broncos won the final four events on the day to score 149.50, topping second place Bowling Green by 19.5 points.

WMU won seven events on the day but the pivotal win came at the very end in the 4x400-meter relay. The Broncos led by 1.5 points before the final event and the team of Naiomi Dulaney, Sarita Dotson, Jordan Anderson and Ayiana Gaines combined to run a time of 3:52.50 to earn the win. Dulaney gave the Broncos the lead on the opening leg before handing it off to Dotson. Dotson was challenged by a runner from Ball State but was able to respond and pull away before handing it off to Anderson. The senior then took the baton and broke the race open for WMU before Gaines finished it off.

"It's always good to start off the season with a win," said head coach Kelly Lycan. "We got some good marks on the board and hopefully we can keep improving them. I was happy with the way we competed and we had some really great and competitive races."

One of those was the 3,000-meter run with sophomore Hanne Christensen claiming the win on her birthday. Christensen ran a time of 10:39.60 but actually trailed the race with three laps to go. She responded to falling back and retook the lead from Ball State's Rachel Bales to earn the win. Daya Wagh also scored in the event, taking fifth with a time of 10:49.50.

"That's what these early meets are about," Lycan added. "Getting out there and competing really well."

The Broncos took first and second in the 200-meter dash with Dotson claiming the top spot and Dulaney following her. Dotson ran a time of 25.31 seconds and Dulaney just a shade behind at 25.75. Gaines claimed the top spot in the 400-meter dash, crushing the competition with a time of 57.61 seconds to round out the wins in the sprints. Gaines also went on to take second place in the triple jump with a distance of 38-feet, 7-inches.

Anderson took first in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:21.32, while sophomore Allison Wilson took third with a time of 2:34.50. WMU also took first and second in the mile run with sophomore Maria McDaniel running a time of 4:54.80 for the win. Claire Gilbert finished behind her at 5:03.81, setting a new personal-best time by over 12 seconds.

In the 60-meter hurdles the Broncos took third and fourth place to combine for 10 points. Senior Artia Gunn ran a time of 8.99 seconds to claim third place, followed by Keyera Lige at 9.07.

WMU's lone win in the field events came in the pole vault. Senior Kirstie Wieber nearly broke the school record of 12-feet, 7.50-inches by reaching 12-feet, 4-inches to take first place. No other competitor got beyond a height of 10-feet, 11.75-inches.

A pair of freshmen scored in their first collegiate meet with Allison Hufnagel taking fifth in the high jump and Kaniya Weatherspoon claiming fourth in the long jump.

Savannah Dugan was WMU's top thrower in the shot put, claiming fifth place with a distance of 39-feet, 5.25-inches. Brittany Casey finished just behind her in sixth place at 38-feet, 1.50-inches.

Ball State finished in third place with 101 points, Toledo in fourth at 53.50 points and Wright State in fifth with 38 points.

The Broncos are back in action next weekend at the Illini Classic on Saturday.