Written by J. Patrick Eaken
University of Toledo freshman Erica Lipstraw (Oak Harbor) ran the 400 hurdles for the first time as a Rocket and won it with a time of 1:05.78 in a meet on campus with Central Michigan and Bowling Green.
She also was the third leg of the 4x400 relay and the Rockets won that in a photo finish with a time of 4:02.98. Lipstraw was also third in the 800 meter run (2:21.27). BG won the meet with 129 points and Central Michigan and UT tied with 127.
After two days of competition at the 2009 Mid-American Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships at Kent State, the Rockets finished 10th UT totaling 35 points. But the Rockets started on the right foot the first day thanks in part to Lipstraw, scoring in three events and marking three qualifying times for Saturday's finals.
"We had a great first day," said Head Coach Kevin Hadsell. "I am really proud of the team, almost everyone that competed today had a season best or a lifetime best."
Toledo's distance medley relay marked a sixth-place finish as Karen Sovacool, Joyce Kennedy, Lipstraw and Lindsay Toussant combined for the fourth fastest time in UT history with 12:04.50.
Prior to the MAC Indoor meet, the Rockets posted a fourth-place finish at the All-Ohio Championships in Findlay, earning 83 points in a field of 12 teams. Placing sixth for Toledo was Lipstraw in the 800 meter run (2:20.47). Lipstraw, Kennedy, Sovacool and Natalie Perzanowski combined for the women's distance medley relay and posted a sixth-place finish for the Rockets in 12:41.61.
Also competing for the UT track team is Nicole Bergman (Stritch) in the throwing events. Last year, Bergman came in fifth place at a triangular meet in the weight throw (13.05 meters), she threw a personal-best of 115-11 in the discus at another triangular, she placed seventh at the MAC Championships in 2006 in the discus (110-08), and she set a personal-best toss of 38-10½) in the shot put (second on team) and 41-9¼) in the weight throw.
At Stritch, Bergman was first-team all-conference in the shot put her junior and senior years, first-team all-conference in the discus her senior year, fourth at state meet her senior year, and she set school-record in discus senior year (121-7).
Two former Clay athletes are freshman distance runners at UT this season — Liza Cholin and Amanda Mannon.