CARBONDALE, IL— The Murray State track and field team began their season Saturday at the Saluki Fast Start in Carbondale, Illinois.
Ashlyn Oren led the Racers with two event victories while many others put up strong numbers in the first meet of the season.
After being named OVC Indoor Freshman Athlete of the Year last season, Oren picked up right where she left off, winning the high jump with a height of 1.70m, matching a career-best, and the long jump with a distance of 5.62m.
Jessikha Ribeiro was right behind her teammate in the high jump in second place with a height of 1.67m. Megan Fletcher (5th) and Jenna Pauly (6th) also finished in the top ten in their collegiate debuts, both jumping 1.61m.
In the long jump, Alison Woerner (5.32m) and Ribeiro (5.21m) also finished in the top ten in seventh and ninth, respectively.
Oren also qualified for the finals in the 60m hurdles along with teammate Dontavia Howard. Howard (9.17) led the way in the finals with a fifth-place finish while Oren finished ninth (9.41).
In the final jump event of the day, the triple jump, Keyandra Mason (10.82m) and Eleri Gesler (10.75m) finished fifth and sixth, respectively. For Gesler, it was a new personal best while it was the collegiate debut for Mason.
In the 60m, Kenia Seals led the way in her Racer debut with a time of 7.71 to finish fourth while Jumyia Denning was right behind her in fifth with a time of 7.78. Lucia Herrero Yanez (7.86) was seventh and Rachel Hagans was eighth (7.88)
JaKayla McSwain led the Racers in the 600m with a time of 1:42.96 to finish third while Norma Abdur-Rafia was fourth with a time of 1:43.74.
In the 800m, D’Myia Thornton was the lone MSU representative, finishing third with a time of 2:24.80.
In the pole vault, reigning OVC outdoor champion Brooke Misukonis had a strong start to the season with a vault of 3.65m, finishing second. Pauly also competed in the pole vault and finished fifth with a height of 3.25m.
Destiny Carey, coming off an OVC Outdoor shot put title, began her final indoor season with a fifth-place finish at 13.25m. Jewel Wagner was eighth in the event with a mark of 12.72m
In the weight throw, Ashton Crowe led a trio of Racers with a distance of 14.03m, shattering her previous personal best by nearly five meters, to finish fourth. Joza Mikulcik finished fifth in her MSU debut with a mark of 13.45m while Clara Tarpey was ninth with a personal-best throw of 10.85m.
In the final event of the day, the 4x400 relay, the team of Abdur-Rafia, McSwain, Denning, and Thornton took first place with a time of 3:52.33, narrowly edging out Arkansas Pine-Bluff by less than .4 seconds. The Racers’ B team of Herrero Yanez, Wambui Watene, Howard, and Ribeiro finished seventh with a time of 4:05.15.
The Racers will now have a little over a month off as their next event will not be until January 16 at the Samford Open, traveling to Birmingham for the first of three times this season.