FINDLAY, Ohio – The Spring Arbor University track and field teams opened the 2016-17 season in a big way at the Oiler Opener, hosted by the University of Findlay, over the weekend. The Cougars saw three athletes qualify for the national meet, including Joshua Smith, Kevin Smith and Katrina Tovar, while also setting four new program records.
EVENT: Findlay Oiler Opener
TEAM FINISH: No team scoring
LOCATION: University of Findlay | Findlay, Ohio
- Junior Kevin Smith got things started for Spring Arbor with his second place finish in the heptathlon. Smith racked up 4643 points, which not only shattered his previous school record, but hit the NAIA qualifying standard and currently ranks first in the country. He hit personal-bests in three of the events, including the shot put, high jump and pole vault.
- Following his record breaking freshman campaign, sophomore Joshua Smith picked up right where he left off, smashing his own school record in the 60 meter hurdles with a time of 8.19 to take second in the event. His time hit the NAIA A Standard and currently ranks first in the nation.
- One other program record would fall on the men's side before the meet was over. Senior Austin Hundley would hit a five-foot personal-best when he posted a 45-2.25 (13.77m) in the weight throw.
- Three other Cougars would post personal-bests at the meet. Sophomore Matthew Kovacic would run a 2:09.37 in the 800 meter run to earn a third place finish. Junior Kenan Swihart turned in an 8.88 in the 60 meter hurdles, which was not only a PR but ranks seventh on the SAU Top 10 List. Swihart would also PR in the pole vault with a mark of 12-5.5 (3.80m). Jordan Braden finished third in the heptathlon with 3951 points – the third-best performance in program history. Braden would record career-bests in nearly every event, including long jump, high jump, 60 hurdles, pole vault and 1000 meter run.
- Sophomore Katrina Tovar cleared 11-11.75 (3.55m) in the pole vault to hit the NAIA A Standard and punch her ticket to the national meet. The mark was good enough for third place in the event and ranks second all-time in SAU history.
- In the weight throw, senior Grace Sallee would establish a new SAU record with her toss of 42-11 (13.08m). Three other Cougars would also land SAU Top 10 marks in the event. Courtney Sandford posted a 35-3 (10.74m), Rachel Coon had a 33-10.75 (10.33m) and Shoshannah Smith had a 32-10.5 (10.02m).
- Making her SAU debut, freshman Chynna Biggs recorded one of the fastest times in program history in the 60 meter hurdles. Biggs ran a 9.86, which ranks fifth on the program's Top 10 list.
- Spring Arbor also saw eight other new personal-bests set. Ally Jackson ran an 8.56 in the 60 meter dash, while Kayla Kilgore and Katie Rutkowski posted times of 1:04.90 and 1:05.06, respectively, in the 400 meter dash. In the 600 meter run, Jaydn Fuerst clocked in at 1:44.17 and Diana Dvorak turned in a1:52.94. Rachelle Budop finished with a 7:52.18 in the one mile run, and Jennifer Coffell and Sallee crossed the finish line in 11:48.82 and 13:53.43 in the 3000 meter run.
Spring Arbor will return to action at the Saginaw Valley State University Classic on Saturday, Jan. 14 in University Center, Michigan.