By: Muhammed Waheed, Assistant Sports Editor
File Photo by Sarah Hugel/The Towerlight
Towson’s first indoor track and field season meet featured Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) qualifying times along with personal best performances at the Bison Open hosted by Bucknell at the Gerhard Field House on Saturday, Dec. 7.
The season started off strong for the Tigers, to the delight of head coach Mike Jackson.
“I was pleased,” Jackson said. “Our goal for our team was to make our presence known and I think we did that. There were a lot of teams that were very complimentary of our overall team performance so happy with the way we started.”
In flight three of the weight throw, Towson’s four competitors each placed in the top four. Senior Michella Obijiaku placed first with a toss of 19.46m while redshirt senior Lauren Coleman finished second with a personal-record throw of 18.80m.
Obijiaku placed second in the shot put with a throw of 15.27m while Coleman finished third with a mark of 14.74m.
Sophomore Georgia Coleman’s 16.70m toss was good for third place, and sophomore Julia LaPorta, who had a toss of 16.21m, both set personal-records.
“I was a little surprised because I thought Penn State might compete, but I don’t think they competed in the weight throw, but other than that I expected to be a the top,” Jackson said.
Sophomore Crystal Johnson placed first in the 60-meter dash with a 7.52 mark while sophomore Shamika Burton took second with a personal-record finish of 7.60. Burton finished second in the seventh section of the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.69. Freshman Christina Marion also had a personal-best performance time of 8.02.
“I expected them [Johnson and Burton] to be one, two,” Jackson said. “Those are two of the best runners at the meet in the sprint so I wasn’t surprised, but the young lady who was third was the indoor ECAC champion from Bucknell who I know very well so we have a tremendous amount of respect for her.”
Freshman Blaire Ridgely finished first in the second heat of the 300-meter dash timing 42.75. Johnson finished first with a time of 41.15 in the third heat.
Junior Paige Keefer took first place in the 500-meter dash with a time of 1:18.16 while freshman Holly Edsall took third timing 1:19.17.
With a time of 8.92 seconds, senior Helnsarah Penda finished first in the 60-meter hurdles.
Sophomore Kylie Anicic placed second in the 3,000-meter dash timing 10:18.72.
Freshman Alison Betler finished second in the one mile run timing 5:23.97.
The 4×4 team of sophomore Alexandria Kitchell, junior Asia Chen, junior Siani Sellers and senior Shelby Francis finished second with a time of 3:59.66.
Sophomore Hayley Horvath took third in the pole vault with a mark of 3.65 meters while sophomore Emily Corso had a personal-record performance finishing with a mark of 3:50 meters.
Corso’s performance was a good sign for Jackson going forward and was one of the many positives that came from the weekend.
“[Corso] was one of the highlights of the day,” Jackson said. “She had a radiant smile throughout the day and a little bit of a pep in her step after competing so well so she most definitely started the season well and ended 2019 on a high note.”
Junior Adia Cavalier took third in the triple jump with a mark of 11.90 meters.
This performance helped shape a positive mindset for the team.
“It just helps to build confidence,” Jackson said. “Help our student-athletes to know that what they’re doing is working.”
The Tigers will compete next at the Great Dane Classic hosted by the University at Albany in Albany, New York on Saturday, Jan 11.
“There’s some down time so they have a lot to think about between now and once we return,” Jackson said. “The good thing is they’ll be thinking positive thoughts and thinking about some of their goals as they prepare for January when we return.”