One Final Meet, One Last Record for Track and Field

In what turned out to be their final meet of the year, the men’s 4×100 meter relay team set one final record for the Spartans when they competed at the Great Lakes Elite Meet on May 19. Third-year student Nathaniel Wahner, second-year students Adrian Cannon and Zak Hurd and first-year student Rasheed Ajala ran the event in 41.88 seconds to set the record, finishing third. It was the first time a Case Western Reserve University 4×100 team broke 42 seconds.

Second-year student Cassandra Laios paced the women’s field team with a sixth place finish in the shot put and a 10th place finish in the discus. Her discus throw traveled 36.70 meters and her shot put went 12.21 meters, setting a personal best. She was named the University Athletic Association (UAA) Athlete of the Week for her performance, her third such honor in the past three weeks.

Placing for the men’s runners were Ajala in the 100 meter run, Wahner in the 200 meter run and second-year student Grant Mlack in the 400 meter hurdles. Ajala, also named UAA Athlete of the Week, finished fourth in a thrilling finish with a time of 10.96 seconds, missing out on third place by 0.01 seconds. With a time of 22.03 seconds, Wahner captured third in the event, and Mlack placed fourth by finishing in 54.25 seconds.

Two CWRU men placed in the field events: fourth-year student Nicholas Heim in the hammer throw and third-year student Pat Shober in the javelin. Heim’s heave traveled 49.15 meters, putting him in eighth place, while Shober’s toss went 55.04 meters, making him the runner-up.

After the meet five Spartans were named to the All-Great Lakes Region team for either placing in the top five in the region or running with a relay team that finished in the top three. Those CWRU student-athletes were Mlack in the 400 meter hurdles, Wahner in the 200 meter run, second-year student Aiden DeSanto in the 1500 meter run, first-year student Olivia Newman in the 400 meter hurdles and fourth-year student Kristen Ruckstuhl in the 10,000 meter run.

A few CWRU track and field team members were hoping to qualify for the Division III National Championships, but they fell short, some just barely.

Ruckstuhl ended the year 2.23 seconds short of the qualifying time with her personal best of 36:22.66 in the 10,000 meter run, finishing 25th in the nation. Newman, who ended the year 33rd in the nation, fell 0.70 seconds short in the 400 meter hurdles with her time of 1:03.18. Mlack was even closer in the same event, only 0.26 seconds away with his time of 53.85 seconds, which put him 30th in the country. The record-setting 4×100 meter team placed 45th nation-wide, falling 0.40 seconds short of qualification.

Next year the Spartans will look to continue to break more records and try to qualify for the National Championships. The last members qualified in 2014 for the men’s team and in 2012 for the women’s team.