Photo by Brent Beerends / MT Athletics
Middle Tennessee hosted their annual invitational on Saturday at the Murphy Center. The Blue Raiders continued their excellent season taking multiple first place finishes in the field events, long distance races and the sprints.
The Blue Raiders enjoyed a successful day in the field, as reigning conference indoor athlete of the week Qetuwrah Abdullah-Muhammad and senior Barbara Vilson took the top two spots in the high jump, as both recorded a mark of 1.63 meters. Abdullah-Muhammad also took second in the long jump competition with a leap of 5.65 meters.
The men also found success in the field, with senior Philip Smith taking home the triple jump competition with a leap of 15.15 meters. Sophomore Jacob Patten won the high jump competition with a mark of 2.03 meters. The Memphis, Tennessee native was the only competitor at the meet to jump over two meters.
Middle Tennessee swept the top three spots in the men’s 200 meter dash. Last week’s indoor conference athlete of the week Solomon Afful took first with a time of 21.28. Following closely behind him was Charles Okeze and Ifiok Umoh. The men also managed to sweep the 55 meter dash, with Afful taking first with a time of 6.38. He was followed by Tahir Walsh and Charles Okeze. This was Afful’s home debut as a Blue Raider.
“This was my first time running for my home school. It felt great. I’m coming off injuries from last year,” Afful said. “I’m getting better and taking care of myself so I can get ready for the championships.”
Junior Geoffry Cheruiyot was his usual self when it was time for the mile race, recording a time of 4:16.20. The junior was head and shoulders ahead of the field as no runner was within five seconds of him. The top two spots in the 3,000 meter race also featured two Blue Raiders. Amos Cheruiyot and Hillary Rono finished with a time of 8:51.72 and 8:52.76 respectively.
The Blue Raiders took three of the top four spots in the women’s 400 meter dash. Loveth Odia won the race with a time of 54.57. Shaina Johnson and Taylor Day took third and fourth place with times of 56.65 and 57.41 respectively. Odia also took first place in the 200 meter dash with a time of 24.07, setting a new personal record.
Next week, the Blue Raiders will head to Vanderbilt for a final tune up before the conference championship. The Conference-USA Championships will be held in Birmingham, Alabama. The last time the Blue Raiders competed in Birmingham, they took eight first place finishes.
Follow MTSU Track-and-Field beat writer Jonathan Clark (@) on Twitter for more coverage.