Bowling Green senior Jeanette Pettigrew closed out her indoor track and field career with one of the top performances in Bowling Green history and the BGSU track and field team tied for eighth at the Mid-American Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships Saturday, hosted by Kent State.
Bowling Green scored 38 points, more than triple the team's total a year ago when the Falcons scored just 12 points. BGSU also climbed from an 11th place finish in 2013 to tie for eighth.
Pettigrew became the first BGSU women's runner to win a MAC Championship in the 60, racing to a time of 7.53 seconds to edge out Eastern Michigan's Aaliyah McKinney by .01 seconds. Pettigrew entered the meet with a storied tradition in the 60 but had not been able to break through as a winner. She finished sixth as a freshman in 2010 and then set the school record in 2011 to place second. In 2012, she was again the runner-up in the 60 before redshirting a year ago for one last opportunity to win the event. She became BGSU's first MAC Champion in indoor season since Jessie Rowland won the weight throw in 2011.
Not only did Pettigrew win the 60, but less than an hour later, she broke the school record in the 200 with a time of 24.18 seconds. She finished second overall as Buffalo's Camaria Long ran 24.09 to win the event. Pettigrew had set the school record in the prelims the day before with a time of 24.34 seconds but Long posted her daunting mark in the first heat of the finals Saturday. Pettigrew ran the second heat and improved upon her school record but was not quite able to make up the entire difference.
The Falcons had other strong results on the final day of the MAC Championships. Makenzie Wheat, who ranks sixth in the country among freshmen in the shot put, didn't quite reach her personal best but she did make it on the podium. Wheat threw the shot 48-feet-9 to place sixth after being seeded ninth heading into the meet.
Freshman Raven Porter set a personal best in the triple jump at 35-10.5 to place 14th overall. Teammate Tiera Parker, a sophomore, was 12th at 37-2.25. Sophomore Maria Meredith also set a personal best, running 5:04.52 in the mile to end 15th. Rachel Durbin was the top finisher among freshmen, placing 10th in 4:59.46.
Heading into the final event of the night, the 1600 relay, final team standings were still in doubt between Bowling Green, Miami and Northern Illinois. BGSU's 1600 relay team of Pettigrew, Demetra Taylor, Brittany Sinclair and Alicia Arnold ran a season-best 3:47.13 and ended .02 seconds ahead of NIU to keep the Falcons ahead of the Huskies in the final team standings.
BGSU will now turn its attention to the outdoor track and field season. The Falcons are scheduled to open at the Raleigh Relays March 28-29. Bowling Green will be at home for one meet, a dual against rival Toledo May 2.