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Eagles Collect Four Top-10 Finishes, Multiple ‘PR’s in Outdoor Track Opener

https://msueagles.com/

The Morehead State track and field team posted several impressive finishes and had about one quarter of its runners clock a personal best in its season-opening competition on Friday at the non-scored Blizzard Buster meet on the George L. Rider Track at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

"On the day, we had seven or eight 'pr's out of 30 people competing, which is about 25 percent. I think that's pretty good," MSU coach Clay Dixon said. "Three of those came in one race."

The women's 1,500-meter run highlighted the Eagles' performance. Freshman Lucy Singleton paced the squad by finishing 14th overall and first in her heat with a time of 4:46.78. Sophomore Laikin Tarlton was next at 30th in 4:59.97. Sophomore Riliegh Owens followed in 25th in 5:04.61, with sophomore Mary Alice Thornburg rounding out the team in 41st in 5:14.03.

"Three of the four ran a personal best. Lucy had the fastest 1,500m time since 2019. I don't think I've ever seen one of our freshmen run that fast before," Dixon said. "Laikin didn't 'pr', but she is right where she left off in indoor. She ran about a 5:18 mile pace. Riliegh had a 17 second 'pr'. She went with the leaders in the group. Mary had a 'pr' as well.

"I'm glad Lucy went under 4:50; 4:46 is pretty good. I think Laikin is capable of running a little bit faster," Dixon added. "It was good to see Riliegh and Lucy step it up and do races they never thought they could do before."

Sophomore Michael Dunagan had the Eagles' best overall individual finish by placing fourth in the 800-meter run in 1:56.33.

"Mike really went for it. He had a perfect race going up to about 600 meters when he started to tighten up. It's what you expect in March. You don't expect to have your fastest (race) or a perfect race (this early in the season)," Dixon said. "At this point last year (Dunagan ran a) 1:57 or 1:58 and he is already two to three seconds ahead of where he was last year."

Dixon was also impressed by the races of sophomores Toby Cook in the 1,500m (15th in 4:03.71) and Liam Dale (14th in 9:11.14) in the 3,000-meter run.

"Toby Cook ran a 10-second 'pr'. It's fun to watch him. He has had good training," said Dixon. "In high school, he was a 4:40 miler and a 17-minute 5K, and with all that hard work his 4:03 in a 1,500 equates to roughly 4:20 for a mile. In indoors, he ran a 15:50 at Marshall. It's cool to see that the program is working and those putting in the hard work are getting the results for it.

Liam had a really good race," Dixon added. "He really showed me something."

The sprinters posted some of the best finishes on the day. Junior Sierra Kelley was seventh in the 400-meter dash in 1:02.65, with junior Dallas Jones just behind in ninth in 1:04.81, with sophomore JD Camacho following in 11th in 1:05.44 and freshman Keana Meriwether in 12th in a heat-winning time of 1:05.53.

"All of the girls in the 400m were within a half-second of what they did indoors. They haven't lost a step," Dixon said.

Sophomore Jacob Vogelpohl led a close batch of MSU sophomores in the 5,000-meter run. He finished 18th in 15:40.22. Jarrett Forrest followed in 19th in 15:46.41, with Peyton Fairchild in 20th in 16:01.00 and Kyler Stewart in 24th in 16:31.59.

"Jacob led the group and was about half a second off his 'pb'. He is capable of something better, but it's hard to 'pr' each time you run," Dixon said. "Jarrett Forrest ran 15 or 16 seconds faster than last month at Marshall."

In the women's 3,000m, sophomore Isabella Copher was 29th in 11:00.11, while classmate Hannah Hostetler was next in 33rd in 11:29.41. Freshman Cloe Copas rounded out the group in 36th in 11:40.64. The weather kept the times slower than normal.

"Isabella was one second away from her 'pb' which she did indoor, and three seconds faster in the same event last year," Dixon said. "Cloe and Hannah technically had 'pr's, because it was their first time running that race. It was raining pretty bad then and getting windy."

Weather also played a role during the 200-meter dash. Kelley was 36th in 28.06, with Jones in 39th in 28.34 (although she did win her heat) and freshman Grace Lopez in 46th in 30.44. Lopez also ran the 100-meter dash for the first time and placed 28th in 13.53.

"The wind started picking up and it drizzled a little bit during the 200," said Dixon. "It was not ideal sprinting weather."

Sophomore Justin Chavez and freshman Christiana Lytle are coming back from injuries. Chavez was 17th in the 3000m in 9:18.13, while Lytle was 16th in the 800m in 2:53.36.

"Chavez has only had about three to four workouts and has only been cross training half days, so it's good to see he hasn't lost anything from his injury," Dixon sad. "Christiana had an ACL tear last year and is just getting back into it this year."

Freshman Alex Murray had a strong race in the men's 3000m, claiming 26th in 9:47.03.

"Alex had a personal best. It's good to see that the workouts are translating into good races for him," Dixon said.

Rounding out the individual performers, junior Tayla Lee was 43rd in the 200m in 29.65, with sophomore Wes Grogan 34th in the 1,500m in 4:25.7, freshman Jonah Stanley 38th in the 1,500m in 4:36.97, freshman Austin Montgomery 15th in the 800m in 2:03.76, freshman Sam Lucas 17th in the 800m in 2:06.19, freshman Ethan Vance 28th in the 3,000m in 9:57.38 and freshman Megan Bush 17th in the 5,000m in 19:47.07.

The Eagles also had one relay entry. Singleton, Tarlton, Thornburg and Owens made up the women's 4x800-meter relay team. The quartet was fourth in 9:56.23.

"Lucy and Laiken ran well. Mary and Riliegh ran okay. But two hours before (the race), they just ran their 'pr's in the 1,500m, (so it's to be expected)," Dixon said. "Next week at Murray, I'm going do a fresh 4x8 and see if they can give that (school) record a good run."

The Eagles will return to the track next Friday and Saturday when they head to Murray State for the Margaret Simmons Invite.

By Brad Laux, MSU Athletic Media Relations