By: Steve Boltri – Staff Writer
The University of Dayton women’s track and field team has had an average, up-and-down season as a whole, but it’s been highlighted by a few standout performances, especially from its throwers.
The Flyers failed to place in their first meet of the season, but rebounded by finishing second in each of their next two meets. Since then, Dayton has gone three meets without placing with just two competitions left before the Atlantic 10 Championships, which will be held at the University of Massachusetts on May 6 and 7.
Despite mediocre finishes in meets, there still seems to be a lot of positivity around the team, and expectations going into the A-10 Championships remain high.
Junior thrower Jenni Rossi commented, “We’re not putting a place on where we want to be but just having our best [personal records] at the [A-10 Championships] meet is what we’re going towards; competing our best at the meet that counts most. If we do that, we have a better chance of getting the results we’ve been looking for.”
Redshirt sophomore Erin Reese also spoke about the the progress the team has made and the expectations for the rest of the season. “We’re all getting ready for conference and everybody is starting to reach their potential and it’s exciting to watch. For conference, we’re hoping to win it.”
Reese is spot on when she says that she and her teammates are reaching their potentials. At the All-Ohio Championships on April 14 and 15, eight different Flyers placed in the top three in their respective events, and thirteen Dayton athletes achieved personal records at that meet. A strong showing from the Flyers wasn’t rewarded with an overall top three finish, but progress was made and the potential for the remainder of the season showed.
Along with their thirteen personal records and eight top-three finishes, the Flyers also broke two school records at the All-Ohio Championships. Rossi broke the school shot put record with a throw of 15.03m and Reese broke the school hammer throw record with a toss of 60.05m. Those two throws marked the third and fourth school records that have been broken by UD throwers this season. Reese also broke the discus record earlier in the year with a throw of 50.87m at the Oliver Nikoloff Invitational. And freshman Lillian Cook broke the javelin record with a throw of 41.82m at the Raleigh relays.
On breaking the UD shot put record, Rossi said, “It means a lot. It has been out there for quite some time and I’ve definitely had my eye on it since freshman year. I knew I was capable of doing so but getting there took a while because of a few barriers that definitely got in the way of everything but to actually finally hit that mark is really cool.”
Reese commented on her records, “It’s a big honor for me. It was definitely something that my coach and I had discussed and figured that it was something I could obtain this year. It wasn’t the main goal but it was really awesome to be able to achieve that.”
After the All-Ohio Championships, head coach Sarah Haveman said, “It was another solid day for us. There have been outstanding performances the last few days. Jenni Rossi is an incredible student-athlete. Along with Erin Reese and with the incredible guidance from [assistant coach] Brandan Bettenhausen, Rossi is doing an incredible job advancing our throws group and leading the team.”
These records and strong performances clearly mean a lot to the athletes and their work has certainly been recognized by their coaches. With momentum coming off the All-Ohio Championships, it will be interesting to see if more personal and school records are broken at the A-10 Championships, and if all the personal achievements will be enough to carry the team to a top-three finish.
Photo courtesy of Erik Schelkun/@flyer_images