Falcons Post Best MAC Championship Point Total In 20 Years

By  | 

The Bowling Green State University outdoor track and field team compiled its highest point total in 20 years at a MAC Championship outdoor meet as the team concluded the third day of competition Saturday. The Falcons finished with 69 points, just eight points shy of third place.

TEAM SCORING
• Akron won the MAC Championship with 120 points, following closely behind by Central Michigan at 117.5.
• The Falcons ended amidst a tightly packed group of teams in the middle of the conference standings. Eastern Michigan was third with 77, followed by Kent State at 75.5, Northern Illinois at 71 and Miami at 70. BGSU scored 69 to defeat Western Michigan (63.5) and host Ball State (57).
• At the bottom of the league standings was Toledo with 49 points, Ohio with 27 and Buffalo with 22.5.

A CONSISTENT CLOSING DAY
• Bowling Green competed in seven events on the final day of competition, earning a spot on the podium in each of those events.
• The Falcons put two competitors on the podium in the discus -- Zaresha Neal and Aliyah Gustafson.
• Six of the eight Falcons to compete in individual events, as well as both relay teams, finished in the top eight to score for BGSU.

STRONG PERFORMANCES
• Redshirt senior Rachel Walny, seeded No. 9 entering Saturday's meet, finished third in the 5,000 with a season-best time of 16:51.15. Despite missing most of the outdoor season recovering from injury, Walny earned a pair of top three finishes with a MAC runner-up in the 10,000 Thursday. Her time was the eighth-best performance in program history.
• Junior Chasatea Brown, seeded sixth coming into the weekend, placed fourth in the 400 hurdles with a time of 59.73 seconds. That time ranks second in program history and she becomes just the third Falcon in school history to break 60 seconds in the event (joining Brittany Sinclair and Tara Allen).
• The 400 relay team of Savannah Nevels, Chasatea Brown, Ryen Draper and Iyanna Ross ended fifth in 46.20 seconds.
• Redshirt senior Aliyah Gustafson concluded her star-studded career by placing seventh in the discus at 159-10 (48.73m). She won six MAC Championships during her career and scored 112 points at MAC Championships (indoor and outdoor combined).
• The 1600 relay team placed seventh, three spots higher than its seed, with a time of 3:46.57. Chasatea Brown, Iyanna Ross, Ryen Draper and Jazzlynn Gaitersran in the competition and became the seventh-fastest 1600 relay team in school history.

FRESHMEN TAKING OVER
• Including relays, freshmen scored in five events Saturday.
• Redshirt freshman Zaresha Neal finished fourth in the discus to go with a fifth-place finish earlier in the weekend in the shot put. Neal threw 171-feet-1 (52.16m), three inches shy of her personal best.
• Freshman Ayanna Burrell finished fifth in the triple jump at 39-feet-4 (11.99m). She was seeded eighth entering the meet and came up one centimeter shy of her personal best.
• Freshman Iyanna Ross placed eighth in the 400 with a personal best time of 55.43 seconds. She came into the meet seeded No. 13 in the event. Ross also ran on both relay teams that finished on the podium.

FROM HEAD COACH LOU SNELLING
• "We feel good about doing something this program hasn't done in 20 years. Some of these kids weren't even alive the last time that happened. We're pleased with the youth movement and just how impactful the freshmen and redshirt freshmen were today."
• "What we did this year was fantastic but we want more next year. To do that, we have to learn and take some steps and that starts this summer, so we need to learn really quickly. We have to grow."
• "It's hard to put into words what the seniors have meant to us and how they've helped to put us on the map. It's something Brooke (Pleger) started with national exposure. And then she graduated and we thought 'I don't know if we're going to ever have another kid like that.' Aliyah Gustafson and Rachel Walny picked it up and ran with it. They were around when Brooke was doing her thing and taking it all in. We hope some of these freshmen are taking it all in and they are going to be the next to take up the mantle soon."

UP NEXT
• BGSU will await final word on NCAA regional qualifiers. The East region preliminary meet will take place in two weeks and the Falcons expect to have a handful of individuals competing at the meet.

MAC CHAMPIONSHIPS
AKRON 120, CENTRAL MICHIGAN 117.5, EASTERN MICHIGAN 77, KENT STATE 75.5,
NORTHERN ILLINOIS 71, MIAMI 70, BOWLING GREEN 69, WESTERN MICHIGAN 63.5,
BALL STATE 57, TOLEDO 49, OHIO 27, BUFFALO 22.5

400 – 8. Iyanna Ross 55.43
400 hurdles – 4. Chasatea Brown 59.73
5000 – 3. Rachel Walny 16:51.15
400 relay – 5. Savannah Nevels, Chasatea Brown, Ryen Draper, Iyanna Ross 46.20
1600 relay – 7. Chasatea Brown, Iyanna Ross, Ryen Draper, Jazzlynn Gaiters 3:46.57
Triple jump – 5. Ayanna Burrell 39-4 (11.99m), 11. Brianna Richard 37-3.75 (11.37m)
Discus – 4. Zaresha Neal 171-1 (52.16m), 7. Aliyah Gustafson 159-10 (48.73m)