MONTREAT, N.C. (Dec. 5, 2019) – After a pair of top 15 finishes at the recent NAIA Cross Country National Championships, Milligan College's track & field teams picked up right where they left in the 2019-20 season opener Thursday at nearby Montreat College. A one through six finish on both sides of the 5000 meters highlighted the day, while several other Buffs earned noteworthy results.
"For a low-key opener, I thought we did some good things across the board," Head Coach Chris Layne said. "We hit a ton of conference marks, picked up wins in multiple events, and our women even picked up a few national marks in the 5k."
Four Buffs earn national qualifying marks to open season
Nathan Baker, an indoor national champion over 3000 meters coming off an All-American run at the cross country national championships, led a herd of Buffaloes who dominated the 5k on the men's side. This followed the women's race which finished in similar fashion, Bekah Owen leading the way as the Buffs claimed each of the top six spots.
Nathan Baker ran 15:20 for the win and led Tim Thacker in second, Jake Crow in third, Cory Aulich in fourth, Alex Mortimer in fifth and Mitch Bronstetter in sixth. Owen ran 17:53, with Avery DeWolf (18:11), Amy Ferguson (18:18), Gabrielle Mardis (18:21), Katlyn Haas (18:34) and Hannah Bell (18:38) going 2-3-4-5-6. The first four earned qualifying times for the indoor national championships coming up in March.
Erica Stone, Maci Cloninger, Caitlin Dominy and Rebecca Glover stepped down in distance and dominated the women's mile, going 1-2-3-4 to open the day. Valentina Kenjeres and Ronan Philippot followed later toward the end of the day with a sweep of the women's and men's 600 meters. Kenjeres posted a time of 1:48 while Philippot ran 1:24. Kiley Wood finished second in the women's race.
Other podiums | Field events
Several other Buffs finished on the podium in the first competition of the season. Brianna Buck started the field events with a 1.57-meter high jump, posting her best season opening jump while also taking three attempts at 1.62 meters. Allie Rose won both the shot put and weight throw. Jarad Turpen in the men's high jump and Kiley Wood in the women's 200 meters both finished runners-up in their events. Rasheem Brown, a two-time national champion last season, opened his 2019-20 campaign with a runner-up in the 200 meters. Brown ran a time of 22.41.
Rounding out the results, Seth Nicol nabbed a third-place finish in the men's mile with a time of 4:38.
"Allie stood out to me in the throws, Brianna had a good start in the high jump, Ronan and Val had quality runs in the 600, and our men and women coming off cross country nationals really stood out in both 5k races," Layne said.
The Buffs will break for Christmas and return to action in 2020 with a trip to the Keydet Invitational Friday-Saturday, Jan. 17-18.