By Ben Blanchard, Staff Writer
The Miami University men and women's track and field program travels to Muncie, Ind. for the Ball State Challenge this weekend. The RedHawks look to improve upon a strong team performance in the Hilltopper Invitational last weekend.
"The team feels great, and we're really excited for warm and clear conditions," junior thrower Arionna Darling said.
Teams entered in the women's meet include Ball State University, Bowling Green State University, Butler University, Indiana Tech, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, University of Rio Grande, University of Toledo, Wright State University and Xavier University.
On the men's side, Butler, University of Dayton, IPFW, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Rio Grande, Toledo, Wright State and Xavier will compete.
Darling has been a major contributor this season, scoring and reaching the podium for shot put in every meet so far. She was named the Mid-American Conference Female Field Athlete of the Week on Monday. She leads the MAC standings in the shot put.
"It's always nice to be recognized for your achievements, but I'm definitely more focused on the awards given out at the end of the season," Darling said.
Darlings mark of 51-5 inches leads the MAC standings in the shot put and ranks 41st across all NCAA Division I marks this season. She also sits third in the Miami top-10 list, .75 inches behind leader Alexandra Roberts.
Sophomore Alesha Vovk has been another standout for Miami. She set a Hilltopper Invitational meet record last weekend in the steeplechase with a personal best of 10:52.68. This automatically qualifies her for the MAC Championships. It places her third in the current MAC rankings and is the eighth fastest time in Miami history.
Senior Kathie Wollney has also excelled throughout the indoor and early outdoor seasons. She improved her MAC-leading 400-meter hurdles time by .14 last weekend, finishing in 1:01.94.
"I was really happy with how the meet went, but I've tried to stay focused on my end-of-season goals, because I still have a long way to go," Wollney said.
Senior Laura Bess won the Hilltopper Invite 1500-meter and looks to improve upon her time of 4:31.32 this weekend. This finish automatically qualified her for the MAC Championships and is the fifth fastest MAC time this season.
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Senior high jumper Jess Baker will look to pick up another win this weekend after taking the Hilltopper high jump title with a leap of 5-7.
The meet begins at 1 p.m. Friday at the Ball State University track in Muncie, Ind.