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Personal Bests and School Records Fall at the Big Blue Invite

Justin Christiansen
Justin Christiansen

DECATUR, Ill. - The Rockford University outdoor track and field teams had yet another strong showing on Saturday at the Millikin University Big Blue Invite. Despite it being just the second outdoor meet of the season, the Regents had numerous individuals set new personal bests and had multiple individuals either break or tie school records. Collectively the men's team finished eighth, while the women's team placed sixth. 

The top individual finishes of the day went to Justin Christiansen (Rockford, Ill.) who turned in a trio of top ten performances. Christiansen's best effort came in the pole vault where he placed second with a height of 3.85 meters. He also finished fifth in the high jump with a leap of 1.88 meters and seventh in the 110 meter hurdles with a time of 18.85 seconds. 

Freshman Nathan Alldritt (Winnebago, Ill.) was the other RU male to turn in a top five finish on Saturday. Alldritt placed fourth in the pole vault with a height of 3.70 meters, while also finishing 16th in the javelin with a distance of 33.44 meters.

Arthell Rosquist (Zion, Ill.) had his second straight excellent showing in the long jump. Rosquist tied his own school record in the event with a leap of 6.09 meters to place ninth.

In the throwing events Rockford was led by the duo of Jared Johnson (Miami, Fla.) and Chase Gray (Alton, Ill.). Johnson's top finish came in the shot put were he placed 11th with a throw of 10.82 meters. He also set a season-best in the hammer with a distance of 31.24 meters. Gray set personal bests in both the hammer and shot put events with throws of 28.72 meters and 10.11 meters to place 16th and 14th respectively. 

Sophomores Joe Werkheiser (Lena, Ill.) and Christian Devant (Winnebago, Ill.) each set a personal best in one event. Werkheiser set a new personal best and placed ninth in the 400 meter crossing the finish line in 52.19 seconds. Devant placed 16th and set a new personal best in the 1500 meter race with a time of 4:25.38. Werkheiser, Devant, Alldritt and Anders-James Wermuth (Spring Green, Wis.) also had a nice showing in the 4x400 meter relay placing ninth with a time of 3:47.20.

On the women's team it was freshman Kayla Barthels (Fort Worth, Texas) who led the way with a pair of top five finishes. Barthels placed fourth in the long jump with a leap of 4.67 meters and fifth in the triple jump with a distance of 9.88 meters. She was also a member of the 4x400 meter relay team along with Collins, Pearson and Buechner that placed fourth with a time of 4:37.07.

Jamie Buechner (Island Lake, Ill.) and Lexie Collins (Earlville, Ill.) each ran in one other event in addition to the relay. Buechner placed fifth in the 100 meter dash with a time of 13.28 seconds, while Collins finished sixth in the 400 meter race with a personal best time of 1:07.2. 

Freshman Maddy Pearson (Peru, Ill.) continues to be a force in the field events for Rockford. Pearson set a new school record and placed ninth in the hammer throw with a distance of 31.42 meters. She also set a new personal best and finished seventh in the javelin with a throw of 24.39 meters. Her final event was the long jump where she finished tenth with a leap of 3.89 meters. 

Nicole Melson (Harvard, Ill.) was the final Regent to break a school record on Saturday. Melson broke her own school record in the shot put event with a throw of 9.51 meters. However her top finish of the afternoon came in the hammer throw where she placed 10th with a distance of 30.64 meters.

The RU outdoor track and field teams return to competition next Friday and Saturday, April 15 & 16 at the Benedictine University Relays.