Lexington, KY - Five members of the Berea College indoor track and field team headed up I-75 to compete in the University of Kentucky Invitational, a meet comprised with mostly NCAA Division I programs.
Simone Brown was the first Mountaineer to compete. Brown competed in the high jump, an event that she currently has the Berea College school record in. Her jump of 1.50m was good enough to finish 24th out of a field of 38. The second Mountaineer to take the track was Erin Gonterman running in the third heat of the mile run. Erin earned USCAA second team All-American honors in cross country and looked to carry over that success to the track. She ran a very gutsy race and was able to set a personel best time in the event with a time of 5:40.72.
"I was really proud of these ladies, to open up the season against mostly DI competition and compete like they did is very impressive. Our main goal was to go in compete and leave with an understading of where we are and what we need to work on. I am really pleased with the results and I am excited to see where they go from here" said Head Coach Shawn Jakubowski.
Competing first for the men was freshman Logan McKenzie in the men's mile run. Logan came into this race after an impressive cross coutnry season where he was 3rd at the USCAA National Championships and earned first team All-American honors. McKenzie ran a great race and crossed the line finishing 4th in his heat and an impressive 9th overall in a field of 44. His time of 4:20.49 was a school record and currently ranks him 23rd in the NCAA Division III rankings.
Emmanuell Kemei also had a record setting race, breaking the school record in the 800m with a time of 1:53.80. Not only was his time the indoor school record it was also faster than the current outdoor record. Kemei was the USCAA Cross Country National Champion and also a first team All-American. As the race unfolded Kemei unleashed a huge kick with 200 to go that quickly moved him from sixth to first, he was challenged by a runner from Southern Illinois but was able to hold on down the final straight to win his heat and place 5th overall in a field of 28. His time is currently the fastest 800m time in the NCAA Division III rankings.
Isaiah Dodson was the final competitor for the Mountaineers. Dodson was coming off a very impressive cross country season where his fifth place finish at the USCAA National meet earned him first team All-American. Dodson came from a small school in Tennessee that did not have a track program so this was the first time he had ever ran in a track and field competition. Isaiah was in the third and final heat of the 800m where he crossed the line in a very impressive 1:59.88 that was good enough for third in his heat.
"We came into the race with some goals and expectations and these men far exceed both. It's always exciting to come to big meets like Kentucky, this meet gave them a new level of confidence that will hopefully carry over into the rest of the indoor and outdoor season. I am very proud of how they represented Berea and I am excited to see what the rest of the season has in store for them," said Head Coach Shawn Jakubowski.
The track and field team will officially open up as an entire team Saturday, January 23rd at the Greyhound Track and Field Classic host by the University of Indianapolis.
Complete results can be found at: