NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Belmont Track and Field team used a series of strong performances to bolster its point total on the final day of the 2014 OVC Indoor Championships. At the conclusion of the two-day meet, the women's team finished in seventh place (45 points) and the men's team finished in sixth place (54 points).
Records continued to fall for the Bruins as junior Marcus Bridger-Wilkinson (Newbury, England) won the Mile in a BU record-setting time of 4:09.08. Continuing her success, OVC Indoor Female Track Athlete of the Year sophomore Hannah Wittman (Lindenhurst, Ill.) won the 3000m in 10:13.06. Freshman Maggie Harahan (Greensboro, N.C.) took third in the event with a time of 10:15.75. Freshman Olivia Hippensteel (Fort Wayne, Ind.) snagged an eighth place finish in the 800m.
Other stand out performances on the men's side included junior Eric Kigen (Eldoret, Kenya) taking second in the 800m and sixth in the Mile. In the 3000m, David Everett (St. Louis, Mo.) took sixth while senior Matt Miller finished eighth. Senior Zach Gray (Lee's Summit, Mo.) took seventh in the 400m. In the Heptathlon, sophomore Vinny Maniscalco (North Chelmsford, Mass.) and senior Tyler Newkirk (Atchison, Kan.) finished sixth and seventh, respectively.
Both the men's and women's 4x400m relay teams fared well, taking fifth and sixth place, respectively.
Overall, the Bruin coaching staff was pleased with the teams' showings over the two days.
"This weekend was a huge step in the right direction for our entire program. We had several outstanding performances," said Director of Cross Country and Track & Field Jeff Langdon. "A few of the most noteworthy performances include Marcus Bridger-Wilkinson in the men's Mile. He beat an outstanding field in a school record time of 4:09.08 winning by a scant seven-tenths of a second in perhaps the most exciting race of the weekend; Eric Kigen was the consummate team player. Eric ran an 800m prelim on Friday and followed up with a stellar 800 leg on the winning Distance Medley Relay which was won in a school record time of 10:03. Eric followed up the next day with a strong sixth place finish in the deep men's Mile field and came back with a surprising second-place finish in the 800-meters in 1:53.00.
"Jilian Linklater placed second in the high jump in an exciting competition where several athletes tied for the highest jump. Jilian finished second on the basis of the number of total misses in the event; Hannah Wittman was the female star of the weekend, finishing second in the 5000-meters on Friday and winning the 3000-meters on Saturday to score a huge 18 points for the women's team."
"Last year, our women scored 17 points and our men scored 29 points," Langdon continued. "We set what I thought was a most challenging goal of scoring 50 points for both men and women. The men scored 54 points and the women scored 45 points. Our program is moving in the right direction. There is tremendous excitement in our program as we move toward the outdoor season. I am extremely proud of each and every one of our athletes and their efforts from the weekend."
"It was a great team effort this weekend," said Associate Head Coach Cameron Harvey. "We got points and season best performances from every event group. The team has really responded to the increased challenges of the OVC. I'm really excited to watch the team continue to improve over outdoor season and grow in the coming years."
"It was really great to see the excitement and team spirit exuded by our athletes this weekend. There were a lot of amazing performances, and it was a really good way to finish up our indoor season," said Assistant Coach Joe Frye.
"A lot of individuals stick out to me from the weekend and that makes me really excited as a coach," said Assistant Coach Ashley Casavant. "There were so many great performances from our athletes – Miller, Linklater, Everett, Gray, Kigen, Bridger-Wilkinson, Maniscalco, Wittman, Harahan, Wrieden, Sobon, Hippensteel, and more all took care of business. We are so proud of our progress over the last year and look forward what we accomplish come May."