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Red and White run over competition at Mastodon Opener

By Reis Thebault
On December 3, 2012

The Miami University women's Track and Field team started the indoor season off with a bang, winning 10 events and setting personal records at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) Mastodon Opener on Saturday.

The RedHawk women dominated the competition, which included IPFW, Valparaiso University, Oakland University and several unattached runners, placing first in all but six events.

"We are a much better team than we were a year ago," Head Coach Kelly Phillips said. "Everyone threw farther, jumped farther and ran faster than last year."

A bright spot in Miami's already blinding performance was redshirt senior Samantha Gable. Gable, who redshirted last year to student teach, did not miss a beat in her year off as she claimed the pole position in weight throw and took third in shot put.

"Last year was really hard," Gable said. "I put in a lot of work over fall and this summer to maintain where I was."

It is readily apparent that her diligence paid off, as she tallied a 17.07m toss in the weight throw, setting a personal record and moving her up to third in Miami's record books.

Alexandra Roberts, a redshirt senior, rounded out a strong showing for 'Hawks throwers, recording a 14.69m throw in the shot put.

Miami's runners also proved to be a force to be reckoned with. They claimed the top four spots in the 60-meter hurdles, the top seven in the one-mile run and the top four in the 3000 meter run, among other first place finishes.

Junior Ashley Zaper contributed to the record-setting day, as she set or tied her personal best in all three events she competed in; high jump, 60m hurdles and shot put.

"I haven't jumped that since my freshman year," Zaper said. "Everyone came pretty close to, if not set their PR (personal record). Everyone has been working since August and this showed us what for."

However, the 'Hawks work is not done yet. The Mastodon Opener serves as a gauge for the RedHawks. It lets the team know what it is doing well and what it needs to work on during winter break.

Phillips is optimistic about her team.

"If they do what they should do over Christmas, it should be a great season," Phillips said. "We have a couple people that could do really well and qualify for nationals. It could be a great year."

Miami is one of the few teams that do not meet over the holiday break and their next meet is over a month away. This could become problematic for the 'Hawks if they fall behind on training, but the team appears focused and motivated entering the break.

"We have to keep doing what we are doing, training wise," Gable said. "We all have something specifically that we need to work on."

Gable also shares in her coach's optimism for the upcoming season.

"I think we are going to be a really good team this year," Gable said. "I think it is going to be better than we have been the last few years. It's going to be a good run."

The RedHawks have the next month off for finals and winter break and look to build on their success Jan. 18 at the Gladstein Invitational in Bloomington, Indiana.

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