The Wildcats show off in front of home crowd

Wayne State track and field teams open the outdoor season at home in the Wildcat Open

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  • Sara Wells winds up for a toss in last weekend’s shot put on a meet-winning toss of 51’ 10 ½”.

  • Shelby Connett jumps into the water in the women’s 3000 Meter Steeplechase. She finished sixth in the event.

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Caitlin Fehringer, Staff Writer

The WSC women’s track team carried over the success from the indoor season to their first meet outdoors, which was held here at Wayne State this past weekend.

The throwers started the season with a spark, hitting one NCAA automatic qualifying mark and eight NCAA provisional marks.

Senior Sara Wells was the only thrower to collect an NCAA automatic mark in the shot put while finishing first with a toss of 51’ 10 ½”.

“It was a good feeling to hit an auto mark for nationals,” Wells said. “We’ve all been training hard the last few months and it’s paying off not only for me, but for everyone.”

Along with Wells’ auto mark in the shot, she also hit a provisional mark in both the discus and hammer throw. Wells’ mark of 158’9” landed her a second place finish in the discus, and her 169’1” toss in hammer earned her an eighth place finish.

Junior Michaela Dendinger’s performance on the weekend was also a good start, hitting two provisional marks. Her first place finish in the discus was one of Dendinger’s provisional marks (159’7”), and her second for the weekend came from a toss of 45’10” in the shot put (5th place).

Freshman Shandan Platt started strong with three provisional marks. Platt launched a 147’3” in the discus and 45’ 11 ¼” in the shot finishing fourth in both. 170’10” in the hammer sat Platt at fifth place to finish the weekend.

The most impressive performance came from freshman basketball player Kacie O’Connor. With less than a week of practice O’Conner hit a provisional mark in the discus. She collected a sixth place finish at 144’ 6”.

“One of my goals for the track season is to make nationals,” O’Connor said. “This weekend was a good start, but I have a lot of room for improvement.”

Senior Megan Svitak had the top finish in a running event, taking third in the 200 meter hurdles at 15.31 seconds.

“I am picking up about where I left off last outdoor season,” Svitak said. “My goals for this outdoor season are to get a 14 second time in the hurdles and to place once again in the heptathlon at conference.”

Freshman Kelsey Dietrich placed eighth at 15.97 seconds in the 100 meter hurdles. Andrea DeSimone was sixth in the 5,000 meter run (20:19.95) with Makael Lanum eighth at 20:54.77.

Shelby Connett was sixth in the 3,000 meter steeplechase in a time of 13:24.24 seconds.

The WSC 4 x 100 meter relay team of Danielle Hart, Mary Alderson, Dietrich and Ellen Wulf came in fifth place at 51.14 seconds with the 4 x 400 meter relay team of Rebecca Davenport, Dietrich, Elizabeth Pille and Kinsey Clark seventh at 4:12.09.

After an indoor season full of injuries for senior runner Jared Balady, he started the outdoor season on a positive note as the only WSC male track athlete to earn a first place finish. Balady finished the 400 meter hurdles with a time of 56.10 seconds.

“It was a good feeling to start the year with a win,” Balady said. “My goal for this season is to improve from last year, winning conference would be a good way to end my track career.”

Nick Schmit also helps the Wildcat with a second place finish in the 3000 meter steeplechase with a time of 10:25.20.

Third place finishes were collected by multiple men this weekend.

Junior thrower Bryan Dunn was one of the third place finishes and the only male provisional mark on the weekend for the ‘Cats. Dunn hit a mark of 178’8” in the hammer throw. Redshirt freshman Braxton Adams in the 100 meter dash (10.80), Zach Thomsen in the 800 meter run with the time of 1:56.1, and Nathan Boggess in the 3,000 meter steeplechase (10:31.09).

Sophomore Derek Lahm collected a fourth place finish in the javelin (157’ 1”) while Brady Metz jumped to a fourth place finish in the triple jump at 44’ 11 ½”.

Nate Lechtenberg came in sixth in the 110 meter high hurdles (16.07).

The men’s 4 x 100 meter relay team of Kole Heller, Adams, William Ernst and Lahm came in third at 42.11 seconds.

Wayne State will head to Kearney this weekend to compete at the UNK Invitational.