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Tech wraps up opening outdoor outing at Lee Invitational with strong performances

Tech wraps up opening outdoor outing at Lee Invitational with strong performances

By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech track and field team kicked off its 2024 outdoor campaign with a strong showing at the Lee Invitational Friday and Saturday, competing at the Ray Conn Sports Complex in Cleveland, Tenn.

Opening the weekend with a pair of stellar performances in the 10,000-meter run were Maddie Long and Ava Costello. Placing second overall, Long captured a new personal record with the top time in the Ohio Valley Conference this season, clocking in at 37:54.05. Costello followed in third place with a PR of her own, a mark of 39:00.15 that ranks as the second-best in the league.

Rookie Bay'Andria Hodges delivered a third-place display in the 100-meter dash, sprinting to a career-best mark of 11.95 seconds for the second-fastest time in the OVC on the year.

In the 400-meter dash, veteran Amara Nwajagu outpaced a field of 29 sprinters on her way to the fourth-fastest time in the event in the OVC this season. She clocked in at 57.32 seconds.

Moving over to the high jump, a trio of Golden Eagles found their way into the top five, led by freshman Ally Beneke's first-place leap of 1.66 meters (5'5.25"). Kendall Medders was right on her heels, clearing 1.63 meters (5'4.25") to place third in the field. Madison Johnson earned a fifth-place finish behind a 1.58-meter (5'2.25") jump.

Sidnee Stanton and Mattie Bush were both awesome in a pair of events during the weekend, starting with the long jump. Stanton placed third with a jump of 5.22 meters (17'1.5") while Bush tallied a 5.07-meter (16'7.75") leap to finish fifth.

Moving on to the triple jump, Stanton again placed third, this time with a mark of 10.71 meters (35'1.75"). Bush moved up to fourth in the event, floating to a distance of 10.60 meters (34'9.5"). Also well in the event with a fifth-place finish was Angela Hoover, producing a 10.48-meter (34'4.75") jump.

Competing in the 5,000-meter run, veteran Helen Pacurariu-Nagy clocked in at 17:47.63 for the best time in the conference this season. Rookie Makaleigh Jessee delivered the second-best 5K in the OVC this season, crossing the finish line at 18:13.33. Freshman Savanna Amos turned in a PR in the event while making her Tech debut, finishing with a time of 19:11.05.

In the pole vault, Carolina Bannach cleared 3.29 meters (10'9.5") to place fourth in the field, breaking the school record for an outdoor meet in the process. Hoover, moving over from the triple jump, joined Bannach in the pole vault by clearing 3.14 meters (10'3.5") for a fifth-place performance.

Three Golden Eagles finished strong in the 1,500-meter run, led by Hayley Stegall with a time of 5:05.15. Emma Bradford finished right behind her teammate, clocking in at 5:07.73. Next across the finish line was Kendall Johnson, delivering a time of 5:10.76.

Competing as individuals for the purple and gold were a trio of Tech's men's cross country team. Carter Bradford turned in a 1,500-meter run time of 3:59.05 for a top-10 finish while James Hyland crossed the finish line at 4:01.99. Miceal McCaul produced a third-place performance in the 5K, finishing at 15:05.41.

"It was a great opening meet for the outdoor season," Tech head coach Peter Dalton said. "We have a lot of work to do, but there were many positives out there for us this weekend to build upon."

The Golden Eagles head to Knoxville for the Tennessee Invite, competing Friday, Apr. 5 and Saturday, Apr. 6 at Tom Black Track at LaPorte Stadium.

File photo by Michael Wade

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