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Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles

Golden Eagles finish fifth at OVC Outdoor Track & Field Championships

Golden Eagles finish fifth at OVC Outdoor Track & Field Championships

By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information

CHARLESTON, Ill. – The Tennessee Tech track & field team officially put a wrap on the 2024 campaign this weekend, placing fifth at the Ohio Valley Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Charleston, Ill.

Totaling 59.5 points for the three days of competition at O'Brien Field on the campus of Eastern Illinois University, the Golden Eagles finished fifth among the 11 teams vying for an OVC title. Tech received a number of impressive performances to contribute to its showing, including a trio of podium displays.

Rookie sprinter Bay'Andria Hodges was a big piece of two of those top-three finishes, starting with a runner-up performance in the 100-meter dash. The freshman blazed her way to a personal record of 11.77 seconds to secure eight big points.

She earned three more in the 200-meter dash, placing sixth with a time of 24.47 seconds. During qualifying, she set a new PR with a time of 24.36 seconds. She also was a big piece of a pair of relay teams for the purple and gold.

Combining for a runner-up showing and eight more points for the Golden Eagles in the 4x400-meter relay were Hodges, Paris Bowles, Kategie Casseus, and Amara Nwajagu. The group tallied a time of 3:47.19. Hodges also teamed up with Casseus, Nwajagu, and Anya Akili in the 4x100-meter relay for a fifth-place display, earning four points with a time of 47.05 seconds.

Delivering the team's third podium performance was Bowles, rocking a bronze medal in the 800-meter dash. Securing six points, the sophomore clocked in at 2:15.38. Nwajagu tacked on five points in the 400-meter dash, finishing fourth with a time of 56.41 seconds.

On the long-distance side of the track, Helen Pacurariu-Nagy earned a fourth-place finish in the 5,000-meter run, posting another five points for Tech after clocking in at 17:34.95. Cookeville native Maddie Long picked up two more points in the event for the purple and gold as well, finishing seventh with a mark of 17:56.55.

Long tallied four points behind a huge showing in the 10,000-meter run, placing fifth in the event with a PR of 37:06.52.

In the field events, Madison Johnson tied for fourth in the high jump to secure 4.5 points, tying her own personal record by clearing 1.66 meters (5'5.25"). Cayla Johnson picked up one point as well, placing eighth with a mark of 1.56 meters (5'1.5").

Putting a cap on a record-setting freshman campaign, Carolina Bannach saved her best for last at the OVC Championships. The rookie finished fifth behind a program record in the pole vault, earning four points with a PR of 3.62 meters (11'10.5").

Johnson produced a fourth-place finish in the heptathlon, racking up 4,624 points for five more team points. Within the heptathlon, she earned a first-place finish in the shotput, second-place showing in the high jump, and third-place performances in the 100-meter hurdles and long jump.

"I'm really proud of a team-wide effort by our squad this weekend," Tech head coach Peter Dalton expressed. "We're excited to see where this underclassmen-heavy squad can go in the future. I'd like to thank each of my assistants, the team managers, and our administration for all their help this weekend and all season long."

Photos by Sandy King

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