KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Jake Wickey got the opening day of the Mid-American Conference Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships started with his first career hammer throw title and Kent State finished Thursday in first place with 42 points.
A four-time weight throw champion at the conference indoor meet, gold in the hammer throw had eluded Wickey, who placed second in 2019 and third in 2021. The fifth-year thrower entered as the MAC leader in the event and with momentum following new personal-best throws in each of his past two meets. Thursday morning’s competition did not go as planned, and Wickey sat sixth entering finals following fouls on his second and third attempts. He improved his mark on his fourth and fifth throws to move into third place. On his final attempt, Wickey unleashed a winning heave of 210′-11″.
Scott Benco and Bradley Heck finished second and third, respectively, in the javelin throw to score 14 points. The Golden Flashes duo held the top two spots entering the final round, but Eastern Michigan’s Joe Duff recorded a 14′ PR to win the title. Benco, who won the event a year ago, opened the competition with a throw of 214′-6″ to take second. Heck beat his previous personal-best set just two weeks ago on each of his first three attempts, and his mark of 213′-5″ ranks ninth all-time in Kent State history.
Lukas Van Der Watt took second in the pole vault with a height of 16′-4.75″. The bar was then raised to 17′-1.75″, but Van Der Watt was unable to clear it in his three chances. Jacob Mally cleared 13′-5.25″ to take fifth.
Nick Stricklen also earned All-MAC honors, finishing second in the 10,000-meter run in 30:17.96.
Alexander Shields (3,871) and Jacob Mally (3,707) sit atop the decathlon standings, as both set new Day 1 PRs. Shields started the competition by winning the 100-meter dash in 11.01 seconds and the long jump with a mark of 23′-3.25″, an outdoor personal-best. He followed with a PR of 45′-3″ to place third in the shot put and closed with runner-up efforts in the high jump (6′-3.5″) and 400-meter dash (51.83).
Mally ran a 100m personal-best time of 11.24 and followed with a second-place effort in the long jump (22′-2.25″). After taking fifth in the shot put (39′-3″), he won the high jump with an outdoor PR of 6′-8.25″ for his highest scoring event of the day. Mally took third in the 400m with a time of 52.62 and heads into Friday 153 points ahead of the third-place competitor.
In the only preliminary race of the day, Asa Hodrick and Jaheim Jones both advanced in the 200-meter dash. Hodrick finished first with a season-best time of 21.12 and Jones’ time of 21.44 is an outdoor PR.
Day two will resume at 11 a.m. with the decathlon 110-meter hurdles. Field events start with the shot put at 12:30 p.m. and running prelims begin at 3:10 p.m. with the 110-meter hurdles.
Day 1 Standings
1. Kent State – 42
2. Eastern Michigan – 36
3. Akron – 33
4. Buffalo – 7
5. Miami – 6