Field competitors step up for track squads

Field events dominated both men's and women's track and field meets.

People shouldn't discard the "field" from "track and field."

The men's and women's track and field teams traveled to the Smith Barney Invitational in Indianapolis Saturday to put their field athletes to the test in an unscored meet with athletes from more than 15 schools.

The men's portion of the meet was highlighted by the amazing throwing of Zach Riley. Riley not only broke his own school record in the weight throw with a toss of 62 feet, 11 1/2 inches, but he also hit the NCAA provisional mark. He automatically qualifies for the NCAA championship meet.

"I thought I was going to do it; I was just waiting for the one throw to happen," Riley said.

Riley also set another Ball State record in the shot put, throwing 53 feet 11 1?4 inches. This record was the oldest standing record in the Ball State books.

"I am trying to set the bar so high that other people can't reach it," he said.

Another field athlete, B.J. McKay, also put on an impressive showing. McKay remained undefeated on the season in the pole vault. He cleared 16 feet for the second straight week, just missing the school record of 16 feet, 6 inches.

On the track, senior Matt Bliss showed why he is one of the MAC's top distance runners by placing third in the 800-meter run (1:54.68) and second in the mile (4:09.7).

"Not only were we pleased with Matt, we were also real pleased with the guys who backed him up," head coach Jim Sprecher said. Steve Samuel placed sixth and set a personal record with a time of 4:12, and Brian Runyon ran a personal-best 4:18.

The other winner for the men was Wil James. James won the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.18 seconds.

The throwers and jumpers were also the story on the women's side.

Seniors Amanda Cope and Janee Langhorne went 1-2 in the shot put, then switched places for the weight throw.

Cope won the shot with a toss of 43 feet, 2 1?4 inches. Langhorne was not far behind with 42 feet, 9 3?4' inches, and sophomore Cheryl Beth took third with 36 feet, 11 3?4 inches. In the weight throw, Langhorne dominated by throwing a school-record 56 feet 3 1?4 inches. Cope followed with a toss of 46 feet, 1?2 inch.

While the throwing events were dominated by upperclassmen, three freshmen made their mark in the high jump. Ashley Gilles, Kathleen Guffey, and Sara Foor placed first, second, and third, respectively. Gilles was the most impressive, setting a school record and also reaching the NCAA provisional height, clearing 5 feet, 9 3?4 inches.

"They were outstanding high school athletes," head coach Sue Parks said. "We have some high expectations for them this year."

Patricia Soman, a junior, took the long jump with a leap of 19 feet, 2 inches. The Cardinals' other winner was senior Tambra Stewart in the 60-meter dash, winning in 7.61 seconds. Stewart also placed fourth in the 200-meter race with a time of 25.31 seconds.

One thing that did bother Parks, however, was the lack of depth in the running events.

"We are lacking depth in several areas," she said. "That is the difference between this year's team and last year's MAC championship team. "

Both teams will be in action again next week at the Indiana Invitational in Bloomington.


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