The Oglethorpe track and field teams closed out their stay at the SAA Track and Field Championships Saturday with a variety of excellent performances, including an SAA title in the women's 100-meter dash by freshman Kayla Trice. As a result, the women's team finished sixth for the 2-day event at Valhalla stadium in Mount Berry, while the men finished seventh.
Trice earned her first career SAA title with an outstanding performance in the 100 meters. She finished in 12.16 seconds, securing the conference title and a spot on the All-SAA First Team. She wasn't done on the day, either, as she earned silver in the 200 meters with a time of 25.58 seconds, giving her a total of three All-SAA performances for the weekend, including her silver in the long jump on Friday.
Speaking of all-conference performances, sophomore Arielle Shaw earned a spot on the All-SAA Second Team with a silver medal performance in the triple jump, posting a leap of 36 feet, 7.25 inches. She also earned a seventh-place finish in the 100 meters, coming in at 12.82. She finished the event with a pair of All-SAA performances after her bronze in the long jump on Friday.
Sophomore Nicolette Andrey brought home an All-SAA Honorable Mention finish, earning bronze in the 400 meters with a time of 59.17. This despite not being favored to even qualify for the final of the event. The mark served as an Oglethorpe school record.
The men saw a couple of podium finishes, as well. Freshman Omari Miller earned silver in the 800 meters, posting a time of 1 minute, 55.66 seconds in a very tight race. He'll take All-SAA Second Team honors for his efforts. The top four finishers in the race came in within 0.3 seconds of one another. This came shortly after his fourth-place finish in the 1500 meters, posting a time of 4:07.28. He broke his own school records in both disciplines.
The men's 4-x-400 relay squad saw the meet finish in very exciting finish. The Petrels needed a top two finish to secure seventh place for the men's team, and they needed to do it against a very difficult field. They put together a sliver medal finish, setting a school record in the process, with a time of 3:24.12. Seniors Jamal and Malik Willis joined sophomore Rodrigo Meade and Miller as members of the relay squad, and ensured that their team finished seventh at the meet. The Willis brothers and Meade will join Miller on the All-SAA Second Team.
Meanwhile, the 4-x-100 team of senior Randall Wright, freshmen Eric Kimbrough and Taryn Dixon, and Malik Willis, finished fourth in their race, putting up a mark of 43.15. Jamal Willis finished eighth, earning his team a point, despite not being favored to even qualify for the event final. He finished the final in 51.75 seconds.
The women got a couple of fourth-place finishes in their two realys. The 4-x-100 team of freshman Glenda Tutt, Andrey, Shaw and Trice finished in 49.77 for their fourth-place finish. The 4-x-400 team set a new school record, also finishing fourth. That squad, consisting of Andrey, Shaw, Tutt and Trice, came in with a mark of 4:06.67.
Overall, the Petrels teams combined for 11 total All-SAA performances, counting all four members of the men's 4-x-400 relay squad.
"What a great finish for the men and women today at the conclusion of the conference championship!" said Oglethorpe head coach Kirk Shellhouse. "Our athletes fought hard in each and every event, and we came through with some big surprises. I was so proud to walk away with this many all-conference athletes. It's the most under my tenure. Today depicted their hard work from the fall, to the spring, and all the way through this point. With our very young group, we are going to do great things in the years to come! The future is bright for this program!"
Though the main part of the season is now over, the Petrels will send several athletes to the Dr. Keeler Invitational in Napierville, Illinois, May 11 through 12 in an attempt to qualify for the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Geneva, Ohio, in late May.
Day 1 Recap
The Oglethorpe track and field team enjoyed a solid first day of the SAA Track and Field Championships Friday at Valhalla stadium in Mount Berry. It was a day that ended with the women's team holding down seventh and the men's team eighth, with the bulk of finals to be run on Saturday.
Freshman Kayla Trice enjoyed the best finish of any Stormy Petrel on the day, as she finished second in the long jump with a leap of 16 feet, 9 inches. With that jump, she earned at least All-SAA Second Team recognition for her work this season, and would bump that to All-SAA First Team if she's able to win a title on Saturday. Sophomore Arielle Shaw secured at least All-SAA Honorable Mention with her impressive third-place finish in the long jump, as she posted a leap of 16-6.75 despite not being one of the top eight seeds in the discipline going into the weekend.
On the men's side, senior Randall Wright finished seventh in the long jump despite also not being seeded coming into the meet. He posted a leap of 20-3.25 to earn the team a couple of points. Meanwhile, sophomore Rodrigo Meade put up a solid effort in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, finishing eighth with a time of 10 minutes, 30.43 seconds. In addition, freshman Mateo Villa came close to a truly outstanding result in the 10,000, as he almost became the first Oglethorpe runner to score in the event at an SAA meet. As it was, he finished ninth with a time of 34:46.36.
The Petrels also had several athletes qualify for Saturday finals. On the women's side, Trice and Shaw will contest the 100; Trice will compete in the 200; and sophomore Nicolette Andrey will vie for the 400. For the men, senior Jamal Willis will compete in the 400.
Saturday will get underway at 9 a.m. from Mount Berry. In addition to the 100, 200 and 400, Saturday will also feature the discus, high jump and triple jump on the field side; and the 5,000, 4-x-100 relay, 1500, 800 and 4-x-400 relay on the track side.