The throwers from Ohio have brought out the best in one another all season long. At the Charlotte Invitational, that was no different.
Ohio finished in the top five 11 separate times in the meet’s two-day span. The throwers were responsible for seven of those top-five finishes. It was a thrower who also captured the lone win for Ohio on the weekend.
Saturday’s throwing duel in the discus between Gaza Odunaiya and Emma Ryan was a testament to just how far the Ohio throwers push one another to perform their best day after day. The unparalleled competition among the throwers in practice carried over to the meet.
Before the discus, though, the two teammates had to compete in their signature events on Friday.
In Friday’s action, Odunaiya placed third for the Bobcats in the hammer throw, twirling the hammer 54.64 meters (179.3 feet). That throw punched Odunaiya her first ticket of the weekend to the Mid-American Conference Championships.
Freshman Abby Moore started her weekend off strong with a personal record and sixth-place finish after her launch of m50.49 meters (165.6 feet). Cassidy Cleland placed 10th with a throw of 48 meters (157.48 feet).
The Bobcats took three of the top seven spots in the javelin later in the afternoon.
Ryan picked up another third-place finish for the Bobcats with her throw of 41.83 meters (137.3 feet). Coming off her lifetime-best performance at the Cherry Blossom Invitational last week, Tajah Haley placed fifth with her throw of 37.96 meters (124.6 feet). Sophie Yantko added on to the success with her throw of 33.66 meters (110.5 feet) for seventh.
Then it was time for the discus on Saturday.
Odunaiya and Ryan separated themselves from the 18-athlete field early. From there, it was an all-Ohio race. The competition came down to 0.02 meters, a little over half an inch. Oduniaya’s throw of 47.65 meters gave her the win. Ryan’s throw of 47.63 meters placed second. The next-best throw in the event went for 44.18 meters. The two throws were not only personal records, or PRs, for the two, but they were also above the automatic qualifying marks for the MAC Championships.
Odunaiya and Ryan became the first Bobcats so far to secure their spots in the MAC meet in more than one event. Odunaiya qualified in an event for the second time in two days. Ryan had qualified for the javelin earlier in the season at the Adidas Winthrop Invitational.
Elsewhere in the field, Moore’s breakthrough weekend continued in the shot put. She recorded her second PR in two days with her put of 13.92 meters (45.7 feet). The freshman secured a fourth-place finish with the throw.
Jordan Porter found herself in a tight race with hometown favorite Victoria Ebert for the shot put crown. Porter assembled her best throw so far this outdoor season with a launch of 15.23 meters (49.96 feet). Ebert edged Porter, however, with her 15.27-meter (50.01 feet) heave.
All of the jumping events were contested on day two of the meet.
Tana Barrett inched closer, literally, to the MAC Championship qualification mark of 1.69 meters in the high jump with her leap of 1.65 meters (5.5 feet). She set a new PR by exceeding her jump of 1.64 meters from last week. She placed fifth. In the triple jump, Keilah Causey placed 10th with a jump of 10.95 meters.
On the track, the Bobcats tallied nine top-10 performances. Four of those came in the 5,000 meters.
Freshman Hailey Bowes delivered her highest finish of the outdoor season, placing second in the 26-competitor race. She ran 5,000 meters in 18:12.48, finishing just behind Charlotte’s Emily Pettis.
As far as lifetime bests go, Melissa Koziol and Mya Hodge had a great day Saturday.
Koziol shattered her PR by almost 10 seconds in the 1,500 meters, running a time of 4:41.31. She came in as the top finisher for the Bobcats in 18th.
Hodge sprinted to two career-best times in one day. In the 100-meter hurdles, she placed second in her heat and sixth overall with her time of 14.54 seconds to lead the Bobcats. She was also the highest finisher for the Bobcats in the 100-meter dash in which she placed 12th and broke a PR with her time of 12.46 seconds.
Freshman Abby Summers ran Ohio’s fastest time in the 200-meter dash. She clocked half a lap in 26.20 seconds to place first in her heat and 15th overall.
Ohio left Charlotte with two top-10 performances in the mid-distance races.
Jennifer Fockler led the Bobcats in the 800 meters with a ninth-place showing. She ran the two laps in 2:23.78.
Marissa Handel ran her best 400-meter time in her collegiate career. She placed eighth after running a lap in 57.71 seconds. Emily Deering and Melissa Barrett placed 12th and 13th, respectively.
Ohio ran its top 4x100 time this outdoor season to place seventh in 49.16 seconds. Norfolk State won the sprint relay in 46.53 seconds.
Ohio closed the meet by placing fifth in the 4x400. The team of Handel, Deering, Barrett and Josie Woosley ran a time of 4:02.19. Charlotte dominated the race from start to finish, winning in a time of 3:46.38. It beat Wake Forest, the next-best team, by about 10 seconds.
The Bobcats will not have to worry about traveling far from home this week, as they make the short trip to Columbus for the Jesse Owens Classic.