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Momentum builds for Golden Eagles following final regular-season meet

Momentum builds for Golden Eagles following final regular-season meet

By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It was a sea of improvement for the Tennessee Tech track & field team over the weekend, as the Golden Eagles wrapped up their regular season at the Outdoor Music City Challenge at the Vanderbilt Outdoor Track Complex in Nashville.

The purple and gold spent the brunt of the weekend setting new personal records and polishing up some last details in preparation for the Ohio Valley Conference Outdoor Championships in May.

Leading the way with the third-fastest 100-meter dash display in the OVC this season, the league's reigning Female Freshman Athlete of the Week, Bay'Andria Hodges, clocked in with a time of 11.74 seconds. She also helped lead Tech's 4x100-meter relay team of Kategie Casseus, Amara Nwajagu, and Anya Akili to a time of 46.58, the fourth-quickest in the league on the year.

Cayla Johnson showed improvement in a number of events, recording a huge PR of 14.64 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles, a great run and season-best of 26.97 seconds in the 200-meter dash, and a toss of 23.82 meters (78'2") in the javelin, another season-best. She also produced a strong throw of 11.14 meters (36'6.75") in the shot put.

In the 400-meter, Nwajagu locked down a sixth-place finish with a mark of 55.95 seconds. Casseus clocked in at 59.03 seconds for a season-best showing.

A trio of Golden Eagles produced strong results in the 1,500-meter run, led by Hayley Stegall and a new PR of 4:48.59. Kendall Johnson followed with her season-best mark of 4:57.80 while Emma Bradford also registered a new career-best showing with a time of 5:04.50 in her final race as a Golden Eagle.

In the 3,000-meter run, newcomer Savanna Amos raced her way to a PR of 10:40.40 to crack the top 15.

Producing the OVC's fourth-fastest performance in the 5,000-meter run, veteran Helen Pacurariu-Nagy placed fifth behind a season-best 17:21.48. Makaleigh Jessee won her heat in the event with a particularly quick final lap, registering a time of 18:01.47 while Maddie Long followed shortly behind with a mark of 18:15.57.

Participating in the high jump, Madison Johnson and Kendall Medders tied each other for sixth place overall, both clearing 1.62 meters (5'3.75").

Closing things out in the long jump, Sidnee Stanton made a massive leap to establish a new career-best mark of 5.76 meters (18'10.75"), the seventh-best jump in the OVC. Anya Akili turned in a season-best distance of 5.65 meters (18'6.5").

Competing as individuals were a number of members of the Tech men's cross country team, with plenty keeping with the theme of the weekend by producing their own personal records. James Hyland turned in a huge PR with a great run in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, clocking in at 9:06.02.

Carter Bradford secured PRs in both the 800-meter and 1,500-meter run, registering times of 1:56.00 and 3:53.79, respectively. Isaac Legault got in on the act, delivering a career-best 800-meter time of 1:57.73.

"It was a strong meet for the vast majority of our student-athletes that competed," Tech head coach Peter Dalton said. "We're excited to take this momentum on to the OVC Championships in less than two weeks."

Tech will conclude the 2024 outdoor season at the OVC Outdoor Track & Field Championships, hosted by Eastern Illinois in Charleston, Ill. from Thursday, May 9 through Saturday, May 11.

File photos by Michael Wade

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