UNI has strong start to outdoor T&F season at USD

DREW HILL, Opinion Columnist

The UNI Panthers’ track and field team hit the road for their first meet of the 2022 outdoor season the meet in USD Early Bird meet, hosted by the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD. The Panthers had several strong performances, collecting five gold, three silver and three bronze medals.

One area the UNI track and field team excelled in was relays. In the 4×100 women’s relay, the Panther “A” team composed of Rylan Santi, Jill Bennett, Libby Wedewer and Paishence Johnson, finished second with a time of 45.93 seconds, narrowly losing by just 0.15 of a second. The men’s 4×100 “A” team composed of Michael Santi, Parker Kiewiet, Isaiah Trousil and Tayshaun Cooper claimed gold with a 40.41 time. In the 4×400 relays, both the men’s and women’s “A” teams won. The women’s team, composed of Bennett, Emily Vos, Auriona Kimbrough and Johnson, won with a time of 3:52.76. The men’s team, composed of Drew Bartels, Craig Becker, Cooper and Seb Gearhart, won with a time of 3:14.34.

Another race that featured a strong performance from UNI was the men’s 1500-meter run. The Panthers had not one, not two, not three, but four runners finish in the top eight. Brady Griebel finished in sixth, Drake Hanson finished in fifth, Becker finished in third to claim bronze and Gearhart finished in second to claim the silver medal.

UNI also took two of the medals in the men’s 100-meter dash. Cooper grabbed bronze with a time of 10.62, and Isaiah Trousil got a gold medal with a time of 10.48. Finally, Zack Butcher finished just outside the top three with a time of 22.03, missing out on a bronze medal by just 0.25 of a second.

In the field events, All-American Darius King kept up his momentum gained from the indoor season with a second-place finish in men’s discus. Marin Ehler got third in women’s shot put with a throw of 13.83 meters, which narrowly beat the fourth place put, which had a distance of 13.82 meters- a distance of less than a quarter of an inch. Mari Shavers was also close in the women’s hammer throw, picking up fourth place with a throw of 56.34 meters, just behind the third-place throw of 56.38 meters. UNI’s only field gold medal came in the men’s long jump, which Blair Brooks won with a jump of 7.35 meters.

The Panther’s next track and field event is the John McDonnell Invite in Fayetteville, Ark.