Texans battle past sloppy conditions on Day One at Michael Johnson Invitational


WACO – Steady rain and sporadic winds soaked the track at Hart Track and Field Stadium on Friday on the first day of competition at the Michael Johnson Invitational. 

It made for a slick rubberized running surface and a sloppy grip on field event implements. 

The conditions didn’t seem to bother Tarleton’s women’s distance runners and heptathletes, however. Or if the Texas spring storm did, it was not readily apparent. 

Both Imani Williams and Kaleigh Ellis improved their career times by more than 20 seconds in the 5,000m run. Earlier in the evening, multi-event athletes Chandee Bachmeyer and Emily Simon recorded season personal records in the javelin. 

Williams crossed the finish line in 17:56.43 to place 16th. The senior now owns Tarleton’s top time in the event.  

Ellis, a sophomore, registered her second straight personal record in the 5,000m in as many weeks. She clocked in at 19:40.46 just six days after claiming fourth place at the North Texas classic in 20:06.15. 

From Thrall, Texas, Bachmeyer wasted no time in surpassing her personal record in the javelin. The junior let loose a toss of 116′ 7″ on her first of three throws in the prelims to improve her career mark by 12 feet. Bachmeyer trains for the heptathlon but proved she’s among the Western Athletic Conference’s best in the javelin. She skyrocketed to 11th on the conference’s outdoor performance list with her Friday throw. 

Simon, who ranks second in the conference in the heptathlon (4,870 points), notched a season personal record with a throw of 114′ 7.75″. She boasts a career personal best of 120′ 8″ and needs less than 300 points to break Tarleton’s outdoor school record in the heptathlon. Simon is expected to challenge for the school record and cap her Texan career in the heptathlon at the WAC Championships on May 13-15 in Edinburg. 

Both Simon and Bachmeyer will compete in the long jump on the second-and-final day of action on Saturday. Simon is also entered in the high jump while Bachmeyer will venture over to the track for the 200m. 

Sophomore Oscar Rodriguez kicked off Tarleton’s two-day stay at Baylor in the hammer throw. The Del Rio, Texas, native finished with a heave of 149′ 8.” Both Rodriguez and Elena Reagan are slated to compete in the discus on Saturday. Rodriguez ranks first in the WAC in the event with a personal record of 171′ 8″ and is within four feet of Tarleton’s outdoor school record 

Fellow sophomores Kevin Baez and Dominick Vastlik closed out Friday’s slate of events for Tarleton in the 5,000m. Baez checked in at 15:20.53 while Vastlik was not far behind, finishing the race in 15:22.73. 

Tarleton has 25 athletes and two 4x400m relay teams set to compete on Saturday in Waco. Field events begin at 10 a.m. with the men’s discus throw while track events commence at 1:30 p.m. with the 100m hurdles. 

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