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Ohio's Taylor Smith clears the bar during the high jump event at the Cherry Blossom Invitational on Saturday at Goldsberry Track. Smith won the event with a height of 1.65 meters. 

Track and Field: Ohio solid at Cherry Blossom Invitational, despite rocky weather

Ohio hosted the Cherry Blossom Invitational this past Saturday at Goldsberry Track.

As Courtney Guiley and Mya Hodge finished their heat in the 200-meter dash Saturday, a cry of “That’s our babies!” rang from the stands at the Goldsberry Track.

Moments later, when the Ohio runners came to greet their support, the first words said to them were, “We’re so proud of you!”

That mood persisted throughout the day as the Bobcats had a strong showing at the Ohio Cherry Blossom Invitational.

The Bobcats earned first place in 10 of 25 events during their first home track meet this season, an event hosted at Goldsberry Track.

Ohio competed against Charleston (West Virginia), Marshall, West Virginia, Morehead State, Kent State, John Carroll and Rio Grande. 

Ohio junior Olivia Mayfield earned first place in the 100-meter dash, clocking a 12.52. The Bobcats claimed seven of the top 10 finishes in the event. 

For the 400-meter dash, Ohio earned the top three spots after freshman Gracie Huffman took the top spot at 1:00.02 and Emily Deering earned second place with a 1:00.35 time.

Throwers Jordan Porter and Donyelle Brown finished second and third in the shot put, respectively. Porter threw 14.59 meters while Brown threw 13.38 meters. Chinwe Okoro, an unattached thrower who was not affiliated with any competing teams, won the event.

While the mood surrounding the track was positive, the weather was quite the opposite. The Bobcats had to deal with wind, rain and plummeting temperatures all afternoon.

With the cold and rain, one could assume distance events would suffer the most.

However, Caroline Hildebrand smashed that notion with her time of 18:15.90 during the 5,000-meter run, about half a minute faster than second place.

“The weather can mentally check you out, but I use it as an advantage,” Hildebrand said. “My teammates kept me going. They ran the whole track supporting me.”

Taylor Smith also continued her dominance on the high jump circuit, notching another win on what coach Clay Calkins described as "not her best jump."

“We started off well, but you have to temper expectations with this weather,” Calkins said.

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Regardless of extreme weather and some kinks during a few events, the Bobcats will use the home meet as a stepping stone moving forward. Ohio will compete at the All-Ohio Outdoor Championships on April 8-9. 

“You just have to take today as it was," Calkins said about the weather. "We were all on the same track. Hopefully next weekend, we can get some better weather.”


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