It was a great start to the outdoor season for the Bobcats this weekend in Rock Hill, South Carolina, as they took home three event crowns and posted numerous personal bests at the Adidas Winthrop Invitational.
Tiffany Hill, Emma Ryan and Melissa Barrett all recorded event wins for Ohio. Ryan had a stellar weekend, finishing the meet with three top-10 performances.
It was no one’s surprise that the successful weekend for the Bobcats began in the throwing circle.
Ohio took home four of the top 11 spots in a 43-competitor hammer throw field to begin the meet on Friday. Gaza Odunaiya’s throw of 50.90 meters (166.9 feet) secured her a fifth-place result. Ryan opened her weekend by placing seventh with a 49.32 meter (161.4 feet) toss. Freshman Abby Moore made her outdoor debut with a ninth-place finish, while Cassidy Cleland finished the event in 11th.
The next event for the Ohio throwers was the shot put; once again, they delivered.
The powerful combo of Moore and Jordan Porter threw their way into two top-five places. Porter got off to a strong start by throwing 14.27 meters (46.8 feet) on her first attempt. Despite fouling on four of her next five attempts, her first attempt was good enough to lock down third-place. Moore’s best put came on her second attempt. Her throw of 13.55 meters (44.4 feet) put her in fifth-place position.
To begin Friday’s sprint preliminary rounds, Mya Hodge finished 10th in the 100-meter hurdles, and Thelma Agyekum finished 16th in the 100-meter dash. Their two times, however, were not fast enough for finals.
Ohio saw more success about an hour later on the track in the 400-meter dash preliminary heats.
Junior Emily Deering — fresh off a fourth-place finish in the 800-meter at the Mid-American Conference Indoor Championships in late February — showcased her mid-distance skillset. She ran a 58.72 in her heat to qualify for Saturday’s finals in sixth. Sophomore Marissa Handel also ran under a minute in 59.06 seconds. She finished ninth, one spot shy of qualifying.
Only four athletes competed in the 400-meter finals the next day. Deering bested her preliminary time, lapping the track in 58.62 seconds for third-place. Kennesaw State’s Jocselyn Powell won in 56.51 seconds.
Five Bobcats placed in the top 20 in the 5,000-meter to give Ohio momentum closing out the first day of competition on Friday.
Shannon Kilbane finished first in the first and slower of two timed sections with her time of 18:53.52. She went on to place 17th overall. The other four Bobcats competing in the 5,000-meter ran in the second and faster of the timed sections. Hill, a sophomore, rallied to win the second section in a personal record time of 17:45.43 for first overall. She won by over three seconds. Freshman Hailey Bowes commenced her outdoor career as a Bobcat in impressive fashion with a seventh-place finish in 17:56.97. Christina Seas finished a few spots back in 12th, while Emily Cass finished in 18th.
Ohio’s lone competitor in the triple jump was Keilah Causey. She kicked off Saturday’s event slate by finishing in ninth.
The massive field event for the Bobcats on day two of the meet, however, was the javelin.
The Bobcats placed three javelin throwers in the top 11 and two in the top four. Ryan followed up her solid hammer throw performance with an even better javelin performance. The senior’s launch of 42.43 meters (139.2 feet) could not be topped and she brought home a first-place finish. Tajah Haley also shined for the Bobcats. The sophomore placed fourth with a throw of 38.63 meters (126.9 feet). Freshman Sophie Yantko placed 11th with her toss of 29.10 meters (95.6 feet).
Ryan came back for the discus to conclude her meet and the field events for the Bobcats. She threw 43.34 meters (142.2 feet), good for fifth place. Odunaiya and Cleland placed 12th and 15th, respectively.
Meanwhile on the track, Ohio’s day was just getting started.
Josie Woosley represented herself and the Bobcats well in the 1,500-meters with a lifetime-best time of 4:46.05. That secured her fifth place.
Perhaps the best moment of the weekend for Ohio, though, came in the 800-meter race when Barrett, a true freshman, clocked two laps in 2:14.86 to place first overall. It was a collegiate best time for her.
Ohio fielded both a 4x100-meter and 4x400-meter relay team at Winthrop. The 4x100-meter relay was ran in two timed finals. The Ohio team of Agyekum, Hodge, Courtney Guiley and Abby Summers placed sixth in 49.72 seconds.
The 4x400-meter relay was also run as two timed finals. The quartet from Ohio placed third overall in a nail-biting three-team battle for first. Handel, Barrett, Deering and Kaitlyn Logan teamed up to run four laps in 4:00.99.
After two days of action in South Carolina, the Bobcats closed out the meet with three event wins, 19 top-10 performances and 11 top-five performances. Their underclassmen came up huge, recording eight of those top-10 finishes.
No team scores were tallied at Winthrop. The Bobcats return to the Carolinas next weekend for the Raleigh Relays in North Carolina.