Newman, Omilabu, Ajala & Merriman Each Set Records at All-Ohio Champs

Newman, Omilabu, Ajala & Merriman Each Set Records at All-Ohio Champs

Case Western Reserve University freshman Olivia Newman, junior Temi Omilabu, freshman Rasheed Ajala and sophomore Sam Merriman each broke records to highlight a slew of strong Spartan performances at the All-Ohio Indoor Championships at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio on Saturday.

Newman, Omilabu and Ajala each broke their own school records in their respective events, while Merriman set a new meet record in the 5,000-meter run.  Newman placed second in the 400-meter dash with a mark of 59.22 seconds, besting her previous school-record time of 59.43 seconds in the event.  Omilabu became the first woman in program history to reach 17 meters in the weight throw, besting her previous career-best by .46 meters with a toss of exactly 17.00 meters, finishing fourth overall in the event.  The throw was also the best in the UAA this season.

Ajala notched a time of 7.13 seconds in the 60-meter dash, besting his school record of 7.16 seconds.  He finished ninth overall, and his time ranked as the second-fastest by a UAA competitor this year.

Merriman won the 5,000-meter run on Saturday with a time of 14:45.45.  The time cleared the meet record of 14:46.20, previously set by Case Western Reserve's Aaron Johnston-Peck in 2006, and was just over a second shy of Johnston-Peck's program record.  In addition, the time was the fastest in the UAA this season.

The four record-setting performances helped the Spartan men finish sixth out of 17 teams with 53 points, while the women finished in ninth place with 34 points.  Mount Union won both the men's and women's portions of Saturday's meet.

Other Spartan highlights from the All-Ohio meet included CWRU women's distance medley team of Olivia Zabrodsky, Abby Casalnova, Juliana Ross and Kelsey Aamoth, who finished third with a time of 12:36.79, the fastest mark in the UAA this season.  Aamoth also placed third in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 10:16.81, and Hayley Yocum finished fourth in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 18:44.91.

For the men on Saturday, Joe Ledger and Aidan DeSanto finished second and third, respectively, in the mile run, with the former recording a time of 4:21.45, and the latter notching a time of 4:21.47.  The men's 4x400-meter relay team of Grant Mlack, Joseph Cabrall, Andrew Ibibo and Nathaniel Wahner finished third with a time of 3:23.86, within half-a-second of the school record for the event.  Galen Caldwell added a third-place finish in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 8:43.41, and Ananth Suresh finished second in the triple jump with a mark of 13.14 meters.

Each of the Spartans who earned top-three finishes in their respective events received All-Ohio recognition for their performances.

The Spartans were also in action on Friday, with a group competing at the Mid-February Meet, hosted by Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio.  The women finished fourth out of 13 teams with 55.5 points, while the men placed 11th out of 15 teams with 19 points.

Spartan women recording top-five finishes at the meet included Karyn Rapundalo in the 3,000-meter run (third, 11:06.19), Shannon Carroll in the 55-meter hurdles (fifth, 9.33 seconds), Elena Polivka in the 1,000-meter run (second, 3:21.19), Rachel Laveson in the 5,000-meter run (second, 18:51.13) and the women's 4x400-meter relay team (fifth, 4:26.76).  Top-five finishes for the men came from Mitch Baller in the mile run (fifth, 4:39.29) and Zak Hurd in the 200-meter dash (fifth, 23.65 seconds).

The Spartans will be back in action next weekend at a pair of meets.  CWRU will head to the Great Cleveland Colleges Meet at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio on Friday, February 19th, and then send a group to the Kent State Tune-Up at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio on Saturday, February 20th.