Multiple first places for BU track in St. Louis – The Bradley Scout
Bradley newbie Sierra Bryant in action. Photo courtesy Bradley Athletics.
The Braves track team had a brilliant performance on March 26th in St. Louis at the Billiken Invite. This was the team’s first outdoor event since the 2019 MVC Championship in May.
The return to the elements was triumphant as Bradley runners finished first in 10 different races, including a school record.
Fabia McDonald has been Bradley’s Associate Track Head Coach since 2019 and works primarily with sprinters. Since arriving, the Braves have not only been able to recruit competitive short-distance runners, but have also delivered results.
“The recruiting never stops,” said McDonald. “I recruit in my sleep, when I eat I recruit every part of my day. I want to bring young women and men with me who want to be academically and athletically successful, and I think I did. “
Last Friday was McDonald’s first outdoor get-together in Bradley and some of their rookie recruits highlighted the day for the Braves in individual and team performances.
McDonald has instilled this hard work mentality in their runners. She is admittedly tough on her athletes in practice because since they “throw up and think about life” she believes it will make them work consistently at a high level.
“My expectation is up for them,” said McDonald. “We’re going out there and we’re going to compete. This is where champions are won for an event like St. Louis where we go out and surprise ourselves.”
The Braves delivered and surprised more than. The 4 × 100 season was the highlight of the day for the Braves. Sophomore Hannah Ivy and newbies T’ya Suber, Kyra Koontz and Sierra Bryant won the event with a time of 48.24 – good for a school record. The previous school record of 48.34, which had existed since 1982, was only beaten by a tenth of a second by the young group of runners.
Bradley’s women’s team also shone in the 400-meter race and finished in the top four places of the event. Ivy led all runners over the line with 56.95, just short of her personal record of 56.60.
“It was a good start and as the coach said it is expected,” said Ivy. “I’ve been close to my PR and it’s only going to go down from here, and we’re aiming for an even lower level, that’s our attitude every weekend.”
She was followed on the 400 m by newcomers Wilma Nielsen, Julia Nielsen and Reina McMillan, with each athlete achieving a top 10 time in Bradley history. Wilma Nielsen took third place with a time of 57.50, Julia Nielsen sixth with 58.17 and McMillan eighth with 58.45.
Sophomore Miguel Aygei won two additional titles for the Braves. He finished first in the 400-meter run in 51.77 and in the 110-meter hurdles in 15.94. This was Aygei’s first race on the 400m and only the third time that he ran it overall.
“It’s just a beginning, it’s not the end,” said Aygei. “I expect to break this [50-second mark in the 400m] until the end of the season and to also exceed the 14 mark in the 110 m hurdles. “
In addition to their success in the relay, Suber and Koontz took first place in the 200-meter race and the 100-meter hurdles. Suber finished the second best grade in school history with a time of 25.10. Koontz finished the hurdles in 15.52, the eighth best time in Bradley’s history.
Sophomore Amelia Lesher also won the 800m for Bradley’s women with a time of 2: 18.85 and senior Aisling Joyce finished third in 2: 21.69.
The newcomers Sophia McDonnell and Tyler Schwartz stood on the podium of the 1,500 m run with times of 4: 41.73 and 4: 48.67.
The newcomer Max Dieterich led the Braves in the 1,500 m run in 3: 51.45 when Bradley finished eight of the top 10 places. Sophomores Matt Aho and Charlie Parrish finished third and fourth in 3: 56.52 and 3: 56.89, respectively. Senior Scott Seymour finished fifth with a time of 3: 57.86.
Bradley runners will compete in Normal today for the Redbird Invite at Illinois State University.