The University of Dayton track and field team placed third out of 10 teams at the Youngstown State National Track and Field Invitational taking place from Friday, Feb. 1, through Saturday, Feb. 2, in Youngstown, Ohio.
In its best finish of the indoor season to date, Dayton was beat out by Bucknell University and Duquesne University in first and second place, respectively.
“Everyone across the board competed a lot better and at a lot higher level than we have been,” head coach Jason Francis said. “Each week we’ve been running faster, jumping higher and throwing farther, so the performances this weekend show we’re heading in the right direction.”
Francis said he was especially impressed by his pole vaulters, who claimed the top three spots in the event. Junior Hanna Krizmanic and sophomore Ashley DeMange tied for first, clearing 3.75 meters, and junior Katrina Steinhauser came in third.
“The team that I inherited had really good [vaulters],” Francis said. “Their talent has allowed us to rise to the top.”
In addition to success in the vault, the Flyers had strong performances in throwing events. In the shot put, senior Christine Borchers finished second and redshirt sophomore Miranda Nelson came in fifth.
“I’m happy with what we have been able to do this season, especially [this weekend],” Borchers said. “Over the last week, we’ve taken a lot of steps in the right direction.”
Borchers set a season personal record with her performance in the event, on a throw of 13.33 meters.
Senior Renee Otte won the hammer throw competition on a 17.03 meter toss, her second win in a row in the event. Nelson followed her teammate with a second place finish.
Dayton had 19 individual top-five finishes on the weekend, plus four top-five finishes in team events.
The team had an overall good outing, according to Borchers, who added, “The competition was fun and gave us good challenges.”
Having faced Duquesne in each of the last two meets, Borchers said, is something that has allowed the team to develop ahead of the Atlantic 10 Indoor Track and Field Championships, which will take place on Feb. 16 and 17, in Kingston, R.I.
“It was good to see them two weeks in a row. It allowed us to gauge where we are compared to the other top teams in the league,” she said. “Even so, they’re the only conference opponent we’ll see before the championships, so it’s hard to tell exactly where we stand.”
In the preseason A-10 coaches poll, Duquesne was chosen to finish fifth, while Dayton was picked to come in second.
According to Francis, the squad still has room to improve, but will have time to do that in the two weeks leading up to the conference meet. Next weekend, Feb. 8 and 9, a small portion of the team will travel to the Hoosier Hills meet at Indiana University.
Most who are in that meet, he said, want to get in one more tune up before heading to Rhode Island the following weekend.
“We’re going to use our next meet as a rest period for a lot of the athletes,” he added. “We’re going to take this time to train and be ready for A-10 competition.”