NASHVILLE, Tenn. – With exactly a month passed since the indoor track and field season concluded, the Belmont women's track team proved no length of layoff could stop the momentum the Bruins had built indoors.
Belmont athletes piled up a handful of personal records in their outdoor season debut Friday and Saturday at the Vanderbilt Black & Gold Invitational. The strong performance on a sunny Nashville day marked the first outing for the Bruins since a third-place finish at the Ohio Valley Conference Indoor Championships in late February.
Some Bruins built on their indoor success, while others made outstanding Belmont debuts instead.
Freshman Bo Miller (Colorado Springs, Colo.) was Belmont's top finisher on the weekend with a second-place throw in the javelin Saturday. Miller covered 56.79 meters with his throw to earn the silver in his first meet with the Bruins.
On the track, runners Christian Gonzales (Orinda, Calif.) and Brendan Elrod (Crossville, Tenn.) each set personal records in the middle-distance races. Gonzales, a junior, ran to ninth place in the 800 meters in 1:54.04. Elrod, a freshman, took eighth in the 400 in 48.93.
Junior Drake Mitchell (Nashville, Tenn.) narrowly set his own outdoor PR in the long jump, clearing 6.68 meters to finish ninth.
"There's still some momentum left over from a month ago, and there's also been time to practice and get better for the outdoor season," said Mitchell, who scored in both the high and triple jumps at the recent OVC Indoor Championships. "We're excited to be out here, get the season kicked off and it's great to do it here in Nashville in a home-like environment."
Two other Bruins had top-five finishes Saturday. Juniors Aidan Thompson (Dunfermline, Scotland) and Declan McManus (Worcestershire, England) ran to fourth and fifth in the 2000-meter steeplechase. Thompson crossed the finish line hardly 3/4 of a second ahead in 5:56.53.
McManus is Belmont's only male returner of three who competed at the NCAA East Regionals meet a year ago. He raced in the steeplechase at 3,000 meters there.
"The athletes did a great job for the first meet of the season," said Belmont Associate Head Coach Cameron Harvey. "We saw a lot of PRs on the track this weekend and set the ground work for the season. We're excited to see them build on that in the meets to come."
The Bruins are back in action next week starting Wednesday at the Raleigh Relays in North Carolina. The team will also compete at the Joey Haines Invitational in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
BELMONT MEN'S RESULTS
21. Hayden Stover, so. – 11.09*
29. Griffin Hodge, fr. – 11.37*
30. Seth Randall, jr. – 11.37
31. Jared DeVore, so. – 11.45
18. Brendan Elrod, fr. – 21.93*
23. Nate Nammour, sr. – 22.20
43. Seth Randall, jr. – 22.99
45. Griffin Hodge, fr. – 23.13*
47. Jared DeVore, so. – 23.14
8. Brendan Elrod, fr. – 48.93*
18. Elijah Sheppard, fr. – 50.42*
-- Nate Nammour, sr. – DNF
9. Christian Gonzales, jr. – 1:54.04*
19. Ben Weisel, jr. – 1:55.60
29. Taylor Vroon, so. – 1:58.75*
35. Wyatt Womack, fr. – 1:59.81*
6. Ben Weisel, jr. – 3:52.24
10. Jacob McLeod, fr. – 3:54.16*
14. Christian Gonzales, jr. – 3:55.62
22. Taylor Vroon, so. – 3:59.03*
4. Luke Evans, sr. – 15:08.05
11. Jackson Vroon, so. – 15:16.19*
20. Daniel White, so. – 15:30.34
23. Drake Mitchell, jr. – 15.81
15. Alex Miller, jr. – 56.94
18. Noah Barnhart, fr. – 58.20*
4. Aidan Thompson, jr. – 5:56.53
5. Declan McManus, jr. – 5:57.24
18. Ben Williams, jr. – 6:31.57*
-- Noah Grimm, fr. – NH
10. Braden Carei, jr. – 4.60m
9. Drake Mitchell, jr. – 6.68m*
-- Noah Grimm, fr. – NM
10. Stephen Gibson, sr. – 14.34m
11. Reece Davidson, fr. – 14.25m*
-- Drake Mitchell, jr. – NM
-- Reece Davidson, fr. – NM
-- Ryan Sheldon, so. – NM
-- Stephen Gibson, sr. – NM
9. Ryan Sheldon, so. – 48.60m*
14. Reece Davidson, fr. – 43.94m*
-- Stephen Gibson, sr. – NM
2. Bo Miller, fr. – 56.79m*