April 19 - NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. – Two more women’s school records were broken Saturday, bringing the total this year to five, to highlight another productive day for the Bethany College track and field teams at the Westminster Invitational, their last tune-up for next week’s PAC Championships.
The women’s school records weren’t the only great efforts posted by the Bison. For the men, sophomore Matt Cruse (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier) bettered his provisional qualifying time for NCAA Championships in the 110 hurdles by winning the event Saturday with a time of 14.81 seconds. It shaved .02 off his time from last week and moved him from a tie for the 13th best time in the nation this season to 12th place. Cruse also edged out Mount Union’s Cecil Shorts (14.84), who entered the day ranked eighth nationally in the event.
In addition, Cruse provisionally qualified for nationals in the 400 hurdles. His broke the tape in 54.17 seconds to place second overall on Saturday. Cruse beat the provisional qualifying time by .33 seconds and has the seventh-fastest time in all of Division III this season.
The women’s highlights came in one field event and one event on the track. In the field, sophomore Desiree Finley (Nanticoke, Pa./Hanover Area) finished second in the pole vault by clearing 10-2. In addition to breaking her own school record by two inches, she also qualified for ECAC Outdoor Championships, which will be May 17-18 at Springfield (Mass.) College.
It was a busy day for Finley, who also took third in the 400 hurdles (1:09.22) and sixth in the 100 hurdles (17.12).
The other school record that went down was in the 1,500, where sophomore Maggie McCort (Fort Ashby, W.Va./Frankfort) set a new Bethany mark by finishing in 5:02.95. She finished in eighth place for the day and bettered the previous standard, which was set by Chelsey Stephens in 1999, by nearly a second and a half (5:04.23).
In addition to the records, Bethany also grabbed one first place finish, which was by senior Chantal Stettinius (Parkton, Md./Hereford) in the 3,000 Steeplechase (12:17.57). Other top finishes included senior Nicole Jones (Claysville, Pa./McGuffey) placing second in the javelin (102-9), senior Lauren Spegal (Bethel Park, Pa.) earning fourth in the shot put (37-1) and fifth in the discus (108-8.25) and sophomore Jessica Sarro (Deer Park, N.Y./West Hempstead) taking sixth in the long jump (15-4).
Besides Cruse, the Bethany men had one other member rank high in two events. Junior Taylor McNeil (Old Saybrook, Conn.) was fourth in the 100 with a time of 11.53 and then finished tied for sixth in the 200 in 23.30.
The other top six finishes by BC competitors came in the field events and were highlighted by freshman Clint Wilson (Moundsville, W.Va./Bishop Donahue) earning second in the high jump (6-0). In the long jump, freshman Daniel Farray (Queens, N.Y./McClancy) placed sixth with a jump of 20-0.
Next Saturday, the Bethany track teams will compete for conference titles at the 2008 PAC Championships, which will be held at Washington & Jefferson. Both teams are looking for higher finishes than last year, when the BC men took fourth and the women tied for fifth.