The men's and women's track and field program got top-notch efforts from Hunter Hoover and Jozi Brown once again, with Hoover posting not only a personal best time in the men's 5,000, but a time that easily met NAIA 'A' Standard qualification Friday evening, Jan. 29, in the first day of the Youngstown State Mid-Major Invitational in Youngstown.
Hoover, who continued leading the Bears with his output, ran a blistering 14:53.27 to finish second in a deep field of 22 competitors Friday evening to best two NCAA Division I runners and nine additional NCAA Division II runners.
In addition to his strong finishing position, Hoover bettered his previous NAIA 'A' Standard qualifying time by more than six seconds en route to posting a comfortable A Standard mark. His 14:53.27 sat less than five seconds of the winning mark, set by Walsh's Drew Roberts (14:48.92), and was, along with Kentucky Christian's Evan Leist and Ashland's Spencer Werick, one of only four runners to post a time of under 15 minutes in the event.
Hoover's time, however, was not the only impressive showing in the event. Star athlete Jonah Phillips also proved to have strong pace in the 5,000, finishing inside the top-third of the field with his 15:22.80 and counting. Phillips, who already set a NAIA 'B' Standard time in the event last November at the KCU Ice Breaker Meet, posted a sixth-place showing.
Eric Hacker, a true freshman from Chillicothe and a graduate of Unioto High School like Phillips, posted a solid 15:48.66 to finish in the top half of the field (11th) while Alex Morris, who ran a 16:33.99, finished 16th.
On the women's side of the spectrum, Brown posted an 18:45.23 to finish eighth in the 5,000 while besting four NCAA Division II runners and two NCAA Division I runners in the 17-person field. It was her second consecutive 5,000-meter time under the 19-minute range. Deanna Hall's 17th place showing in the field (20:24.61) rounded out SSU's 5,000-meter times.
Shawnee State's distance medley relay unit, led by freshmen hands Noah Kanniard, Aidan Judd and Mason Blizzard, along with junior Thryceton Deckard, finished third in the DMR, running a 10:37.30 to finish well within range of Youngstown State's race-winning 10:30.81 and second-place Transylvania (Ky.)'s 10:31.11.
The Bears are back in action Saturday for the second day of action at the YSU Mid-Major Invitational.
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