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Women’s track and field finishes ninth at indoor MAC championship

By Ben Blanchard, For The Miami Student

The Miami University women's track and field team finished ninth out of twelve at the Mid-American Conference Indoor Championships this weekend in Akron, Ohio. This was a one-spot jump from Miami's tenth place finish last season.

Junior Alexus Simson-Miller, senior Laura Bess, senior Kathie Wollney and junior Arionna Darling were standouts for the RedHawks, who finished with 28 points.

Bess finished fourth in the 1600-meter run with a 4:55.1 time.

"Fourth is a little frustrating, especially when I missed third by a tenth of a second," Bess said. "I was close to the school record in my last race, so I was disappointed when I couldn't break it here. But the mile is a weird race, we got out really slow. I just wish the race had been five meters longer."

Sophomore Alesha Vovk finished the 1600 in 5:04.74, good enough for 13th place.

In the 60-meter hurdles, Jimson-Miller finished second in a time of 8.53. It was one of Miami's best performances at the meet.

In the distance medley relay, Wollney, Bess, Vovk and senior Megan Beaver set a new school record with a 11:35.42 time. They placed second overall behind Eastern Michigan University.

"It was a very exciting race, we had our sights set on the record," Wollney said. "We knew we had to put it all on the line to pull it off, and I'm really proud of our performance. Laura's always fun to watch, and her very strong finish sealed the deal for us."

Wollney also competed in the 400-meter run, the 800-meter run and the 4x400 relay. She finished eighth in the 400, a personal best 56.03, placing her at sixth in Miami history.

"I'm happy with how the 400 went, I knew I had to go out hard," Wollney said. "I'll always take a personal record."

Wollney had just a 45-minute break between the 400 and 800 preliminary races. Wollney ran a personal record in the 800, but missed the cut for finals.

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"It was nerve-wracking, knowing that I would have so little rest in between, but I stayed hydrated and it went as smoothly as it could've," Wollney said. "But it was only the second time, I've ever ran the 800, so I was pretty clueless anyways."

In the shot put, Darling finished fourth overall with a throw of 50-10.

Freshman Katie Walter finished ninth with a 46-6.75 throw, placing her at eighth in Miami history. Women's shot putters on MU's current team now hold four of the top-10 spots in Miami history.

"I'm proud of how we performed as a team," Wollney said. "There have been so many coaching and staff changes over the last year, and we still managed to improve from last year. I really think we can start to put it all together in outdoor."

Eastern Michigan repeated as indoor conference champions with a total score of 127 points.

The RedHawks begin outdoor season on April 1 at the Miami Relays.