Track and field sees strong finishes at Spartan Invitational

The SVSU men’s and women’s track and field teams had their largest meet thus far in the outdoor season over the weekend at the Auto Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational. The teams turned in numerous impressive finishes and a handful of provisional qualifications.

During Friday’s field events, freshman Ali Aldrich placed 20th in the hammer throw, which had nearly 50 competitors, with a throw of 39.96 meters. On the men’s side, Nick Endres placed seventh with a throw of 51.29 meters. In the men’s triple jump, freshman Brandon Keys placed sixth with a mark of 12.78 meters.

On Saturday, the field events continued with sophomore Jacob Netschke placing fourth in the men’s high jump with a jump of 2.01 meters. Keys also added a fifth-place finish in the men’s long jump. In the women’s discus, freshman Emily Droski turned in an eighth-place finish with a throw of 39.48 meters.

Senior Ryan Kelly placed sixth on the men’s side with a throw of 50.48 meters. He also placed third in the shotput with a throw of 16.82 meters. Both of Kelly’s finishes were provisional qualifiers.

“(Kelly) had a really good throw in the discus,” said Jason Hartmann, the associate head track and field coach. “Anytime you’re able to (provisionally qualify) is always a positive.”

Aldrich added an eighth-place finish in the women’s shotput. In the women’s javelin, junior Lauren Huebner and Droski placed sixth and seventh, respectively.

Saturday’s track events were highlighted by Huebner’s win in the women’s 400-meter hurdles, a personal-best finish of 59.66 and an NCAA provisional mark. The women’s 4×100 relay team of Huebner, freshman Maegan Noble, senior Andriana Higgins and Alona Olshevska also placed third.

“It is great to see success so early in the year, especially since we are still in the midst of heavy training,” Huebner said. “I can only wait to see the improvements we can all make once we get closer to championship time.”

The men’s 4×100 team comprised of freshman Casey Williams, junior Travon Phillips, senior Keith Rodriguez and junior Carter Eckhardt placed second with a time of 42.35.

In the women’s 1,500 meter, junior Sydney Kreger placed seventh with a time of 4:44.64. On the men’s side, freshman Brendan Nesbitt placed third with a time of 3:57.83.

In the women’s 400 meter, freshman Kelsey Landra finished with a time of 1:01.20, good enough for 11th. In the men’s 400 meter,
Rodriguez turned in the best performance of his career, finishing in second place with a time of 49.67.

“It’s tough to put in words, but to finally reach one of the goals I set when I first came to Saginaw Valley felt amazing,” Rodriguez said. “This past performance has really given me the confidence that everything I am doing is paying off.”

In the men’s 400 meter hurdles, senior Cordell Richardson finished in 56.25, good enough for eighth place. In the women’s 200 meter, Higgins and Olshevska placed third and sixth, respectively.

The teams compete again this coming weekend, as many of the athletes will head to Oakland University for the Golden Grizzlies Invite on Friday, April 12, and Saturday, April 13. The distance runners, however, will head to Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania to compete.

Connor Doyle

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