By Liza Bennett
Ohio Wesleyan University Track and Field kicked off its season at the First Glimpse meet, hosted by Marietta College on Saturday.
The meet, which included competitors from Allegheny, Charleston, Concord, Malone, Marietta, Ohio University and Ohio Wesleyan, was not scored.
Strong performances were made by many OWU track and field members, specifically senior Hannah Benzing.
Benzing won the weight throw with a throw of 51-9½, breaking the school record of 48-4¾ set by Sharon Rymut in 2009.
Benzing said for the first meet she set no expectations, and had in her mind where she wanted to be and was pleased with her personal performance as well as the team’s performance.
“I was hoping for a further distance but I can’t be disappointed with a new personal best starting off in the first meet,” Benzing said. “I imagine I’ll be breaking my own record a few more times this season.”
Junior Sarah Bechtel, who took a first-place finish, winning the pole vault by clearing 11-0, said the meet gave the Bishops an opportunity to gauge how prepared they are for the upcoming season.
“The Marietta meet is mostly just to shake off the dust and prepare for the season ahead,” Bechtel said. “We’ve put in a lot of work so far this year and it’s nice to see where we’re at.”
Bechtel said she is hopeful for a repeat of last year’s successful season.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us but so far all signs say it will be successful season and I’m sure we’ll have a lot of fun along the way,” she said.
Senior Ethan Freet won two events at the meet. He won the 200 and 400-meter dashes in respective times of :22.67 and :49.71. Freet said he was pleased with where he and the team are in their training.
“We are well ahead of where we were at this point last year and this was a very positive start, we still have a lot of work to do, but this was a good meet to show that the time that we have put in thus far is paying off,” Freet said.
“As a team, we hope to win the All-Ohio championships as well as the conference title, and to ultimately qualify as many individuals as possible to the national championships as we can, I think this is the strongest team that I have been a part of and there is a lot of potential and we just have to stay focused and keep working hard to turn that potential into success.”
Sophomore Matt Hunter had a notable performance that included first place in the long jump with a leap of 21-7¼ and third place in the 55-meter hurdles. Hunter said it felt great to start the season off with a win the long jump, his favorite event.
“I could not have been happier with my performance at the meet, I competed in four events and set four personal records,” Hunter said. “A lot of returning athletes had the best season opener of their career along with a strong showing from the freshmen class in their collegiate premier.”
The Bishops said they are hopeful for a successful season and Benzing said she thinks many of her teammates will make it to nationals this season.
“We’ve always been a good team, but I know we have what it takes to be national caliber,” Benzing said.
Hunter agreed with Benzing and said the team is most definitely in a position for an impressive post-season performance.
“We are exactly where we want to be right now to set ourselves up for this indoor season where we are looking to defend our All-Ohio Championship and reclaim the conference title,” Hunter said. “After those meets we also expect to have an increasing presence at the national championships.”
The Bishops first home meet will be on Jan. 18 when they host the OWU Triangular at the Gordon Field House.