The Bowling Green State University indoor track and field team won four events from four different student-athletes as the Falcons hosted the BG Opener Saturday. Western Michigan won the event for the third straight year with 171 points. Bowling Green was fourth with 89 points, just one point behind rival Toledo in the team standings.
For the Falcons, it was a combination of veterans and newcomers who contributed big points and there were some surprise performances along the way. Newcomers Tina Perrine and Makenzie Wheat led the way in the throws, while senior Jeanette Pettigrew and junior Natalie Sommerville showed upperclass leadership on the track. Sophomores Demetra Taylor and Alicia Arnold (a transfer in her first year at Bowling Green) also had standout performances.
Perrine, who was an NCAA Division III National Championship qualifier at Baldwin-Wallace, has quickly found her groove in her first year at Bowling Green. She won the weight throw by almost three inches, edging out Western Michigan's Andrea Hiler and Ball State's Marie Lumpkin by throwing 55-feet-2.25.
After the weight throw was over, it was time for true freshman Wheat to step into the circle and take control in the shot put. In her first collegiate meet, she threw a lifetime best 44-6 to place second overall.
Pettigrew continued to perform as if she were in mid-season form in the 60. The two-time MAC runner-up in the event, Pettigrew cruised to the top time in the prelims with a race of 7.58 seconds. She followed that up with a 7.61 in the finals to take first place. Pettigrew also placed third in the 200 with a time of 25.40 seconds. One of the competitors who beat her in the 200 was teammate Arnold. The transfer ran a sparkling time of 24.80 which surpasses the automatic qualifying time for the MAC Championships of 24.78 seconds once converted for banked tracks. Arnold joins Pettigrew (in the 60) as the only Falcons to reach MAC automatic qualifying marks so far this year.
Sommerville ran the non-traditional 600 at the meet and stunned with a time of 1:35.93, which was more than six seconds faster than her personal best and more than three seconds quicker than the rest of the field.
Taylor, a sophomore, twice broke her personal best in the 60 hurdles. After racing to a 9.01 at the MAC Championships a year ago, she went 9.00 in the prelims at the BG Opener to qualify for the finals in third. She went under nine seconds for the first time in her career in the finals, finishing second in 8.88 seconds.
In other top three finishes, freshman jumper Raven Porter finished second in the triple jump with a leap of 34-8.50. As well, the 1600 relay team of Gabrielle Edwards, Connor Kempf, Brittany Sinclair and Natalie Sommerville ended third in 3:59.88.
The Falcons will return to action Saturday at the Simmons-Harvey Invitational, hosted by the University of Michigan. Bowling Green will then be back at home on Friday, Jan. 24 for the Tom Wright Open beginning at 5 p.m. at Perry Field House on the campus of BGSU.