Rodriguez breaks school record, Simon leads heptathlon on Day One at WAC Championships


EDINBURG – A school record fell and All-Conference honors and personal records rolled in for Tarleton track and field on Thursday at the Western Athletic Conference Championships at UTRGV. 

Oscar Rodriguez set a new outdoor program record in the hammer throw with a heave of 174′ 8″ to highlight the Texans’ collective effort on day one. Rodriguez placed fourth to garner All-WAC second team honors. Three other athletes cracked the top-eight in open events to aid Tarleton’s team scores. Meanwhile, Emily Simon leads the heptathlon with 3,203 points with three events remaining. 

Rodriguez surpassed Tarleton’s previous outdoor record (169′ 6″) on his sixth and final throw. The sophomore bested his personal record by 13 feet.  

Another school record is well within reach for Rodriguez during his stay in Hidalgo County. The Del Rio, Texas native is set to compete in the discus on Saturday. His personal record of 171′ 8″ has him within less than four feet of Tarleton’s outdoor record. Rodriguez will enter the event seeded third. 

Simon sits in pole position to win the heptathlon ahead of Friday’s slate of events. She notched first-place finishes in the 100m hurdles (14.27), high jump (5′ 5.75″) and shot put (40′ 1.25″) and leads by 137 points. Her marks in the 100m hurdles and shot put were personal records. Simon completed Thursday by claiming fourth in the 200m dash with a time of 26.34. 

Tarleton’s school record in the heptathlon is also in play for Simon. She recorded a career-best score of 4,870 points on Apr. 1 at the Angelo State David Noble Relays to get within 255 points of the Texans’ all-time score (5,125 points).  

A second thrower joined Rodriguez in earning All-WAC second team accolades. Freshman Ben Presley claimed fifth place in the javelin with a throw of 162′ 6. Thursday was just the second time Presley threw the javelin collegiately. He last competed in the event at the Joe Gillespie Invitational on Apr. 22, where he set a previous personal record of 143′ 9″. 

Fellow freshman Kora Pennartz earned a point for the women’s team with an eighth-place finish in the javelin. She registered an eight-foot personal record with a toss of 125′ 9″. 

Rounding out the scoring on the women’s side was Imani Williams, who crossed the finish line seventh in the 10k in 38:08.52 to nab two points. The senior will complete her career in Purple and White in the 5k in Saturday’s third and final day of action. 

Tarleton’s fifth and final top-10 individual finish belonged to Kevin Baez in the 10k. He clocked a time of 32:07.45 and placed 10th. The sophomore missed out on breaking Tarleton’s outdoor 10k record (31:40.44) by just 10 seconds. 

Two other throwers competed for Tarleton in Jacob Bowers and Elena Reagan. Bowers notched a personal record in the javelin (146′ 10″) and Reagan was 13th in the hammer throw (133′ 1″). 

Chandee Bachmeyer competed alongside Simon in the heptathlon while Skyler Sandusky and Isaac Hutchings completed half of the decathlon to comprise the remainder of Tarleton’s collective effort on day one.  

Bachmeyer was fourth in both the 200m (25.94) and high jump (5′ 3.25″) and earned 2,538 points. She currently is in ninth place but is less than 200 removed from the top-five in a 12-person field. 

Sandusky occupies eighth place after day one with 3,204 points. He took fourth in the 400m (51.36) and came in sixth place in the long jump (20′ 9″) and high jump (5′ 9.75″). 

Hutchings scored 3,075 points on the strength of a pair of strong showings in the running events. He finished third in the 100m dash at 11.05 seconds to begin his day and capped it with a fifth-place effort in the 400m (51.48). 

Overall, Tarleton sits in fifth place on the men’s side with nine points while the women’s team is seventh with three points. 

The meet resumes at 9:30 a.m. on Friday with field events before. Competition then transitions to the track at 5 p.m. for prelims in sprints, middle distance events and hurdles as well as the 3k steeplechase finals. 

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