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Ohio's Hannah Bush participates in the high jump during the Cherry Blossom Invitational on March 1, 2017. (FILE)

Track & Field: Bobcats compete in MAC Championships this weekend

The Bobcats will descend upon Bowling Green this weekend to compete in the Mid-American Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships. The Bobcats will be represented by 17 student athletes in 10 events. After putting tons of focus on the meet all season, the Bobcats have their sights set on the podium. 

Although the Bobcats will be underrepresented in the sprint events, they qualified well for the championships in the distance and field events. The Bobcats punched more than one bid in the shot put, weight throw, 800-meters, 3,000-meters and 5,000-meters. 

Ohio had an array of successes in the throwing events this indoor season. Upperclassmen Jordan Porter and Gaza Odunaiya lead a strong throwing contingent to the MAC Championships. 

Porter clinched a spot in the MAC Championships right out of the gate back in December in a dual meet at Marshall. She is a heavy medal favorite for the Bobcats, coming in sixth in a large 20-competitor field. Her teammate, Abby Moore, will join her in the shot put circle. The shot put will be held Saturday morning at 11 a.m. 

Moore has been a big boost for the Bobcats this year and has surprised many by punching MAC automatic qualifying bids in both the weight throw and shot. She is seeded 20th in the shot and 11th in a talented weight throw field. She is the only freshman competing in an individual event for the Bobcats this weekend.  

Odunaiya and Cassidy Cleland are the other competitors in the weight throw for Ohio. Odunaiya is fresh off a lifetime-best and school-record performance last weekend at Ohio State, where she tossed her weight 19.07 meters (62.5 feet). She is seeded fifth — Ohio’s highest seed in any event this weekend. The third athlete participating for Ohio in the event is Cleland. She is seeded 17th and will compete alongside Odunaiya and Moore on Friday at 4:30 p.m. 

Sophomore Keilah Causey saved her best meet for last in Ohio’s final indoor regular season meet last weekend. Causey went on to break her personal record in the triple jump, jumping 11.71 meters on her first attempt. The jump secured her an automatic spot in this weekend’s championships, earning her the 10th seed. The triple jump will be contested Saturday at 1:30 p.m. 

Tajah Haley has the opportunity to show off her wide-range athleticism for the Bobcats in the indoor pentathlon this weekend. The sophomore is seeded 11th and is stacked up against 11 other individuals. The pentathlon gets underway Friday at 10:30 a.m. 

Three athletes will represent the Bobcats in the grueling mid-distance races. Marissa Handel carries the weight on her shoulders, being the lone Bobcat in the 400-meter dash. She is seeded 20th. Emily Deering and Kaitlyn Logan will run in the 800-meter. Deering’s sixth seed is one of the higher seeds for her team heading into Friday and Saturday. Logan is seeded back in 16th. The senior will hope to place in what is most likely to be the final race of her indoor career. The 400-meter semifinals are Friday at 3:15 p.m. while the 800-meter semifinals take place an hour later.

Ohio sends an impressive list to Bowling Green in the 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter races. Alyssa Atkinson, Abby Miller, and Christina Seas will run in the 3,000-meter race. Atkinson is seeded 12th while Miller and Seas are seeded 17th and 20th respectively.The 3,000-meter will be one of the final races timed this weekend and takes place Saturday at 4:10 p.m. Atkinson is also seeded 12th in the 5,000-meter. She will be joined in that race by Ellen Isaac, who is seeded 19th. Like the 3,000-meter, there is also only one final in the 5,000-meter. That final happens Friday at 5:30 p.m. 

The Bobcats bring two relay teams to the MAC Championships. The quartet of Handel, Logan, Deering and Thelma Agyekum will race in the 4x400-meter relay. The Bobcats have struggled to produce decent times in the race all season no matter what the lineup has been. They are seeded 11th out of 12 groups coming in. Toledo sits behind them while Central Michigan comes in at first. The relay is scheduled to be the last event of the meet with the gun going off for the women’s race Saturday at 4:40 p.m.

In the distance-medley relay, Ohio is tied with five other squads for a seventh seed. Eastern Michigan comes in with the top-seeded time. In a relatively new event for Ohio, it will be represented by Handel, Miller, Josie Woosley and Melissa Barrett. The distance-medley closes out Friday’s track events at 6:15 p.m. 

The Bobcats finished 12th in the team standings at last year’s indoor conference championships. They hope for a better fortune this time around. 


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