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    Track & Field: Last stop before UAAs: Lynchburg

    Joe Amick

    Issue date: 4/17/09 Section: Sports
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    Senior Elizabeth Ehrke is looking to increase her discus and hammer throw distances to place first in the UAA and qualify for nationals.
    Media Credit: James Cash
    Senior Elizabeth Ehrke is looking to increase her discus and hammer throw distances to place first in the UAA and qualify for nationals.

    The outdoor track season is a race. Six weeks separate the first outdoor meet from the conference championships. In that time, throwers have to adjust to the hammer throw and javelin; runners have to adjust to longer distances and turns that aren't as sharp on an outdoor 400-meter track; and hurdlers have to adjust to longer distances.

    To make the most of the time, the Spartans have traveled to the South for all but one of their pre-UAA Championships meets. Historically, meets that are in or near Cleveland get snowed out. So, the Spartans went to Virginia for the Lynchburg College Outdoor Track Classic, their last tune-up before the UAA Championships on April 25-26.

    "Everything really focuses on the conference meet," said track coach Steve Rubin. "It's a rush to get ourselves familiar and prepared for the outdoor events."

    Teams competing in the Lynchburg meet weren't ranked. The first-place finishers in each event won T-shirts.

    Here's how some individual Spartans who will be key in deciding how the team fares at the UAAs did at Lynchburg:

    Ty Shaffer's time of 55.49 seconds earned him second place in the 400-meter hurdles. Shaffer finished second only to Safwan Williams, a two-time national champion in that event.

    "I ran incredibly well, a lot better than I expected to… It really came out of nowhere. I'm finally in the best shape I've been in all season," said Shaffer.

    Shaffer said that he hit three or four hurdles during the race and is working on improving his form in preparation for the UAAs.

    Elizabeth Ehrke won the hammer with a 46.79-meter throw. Ehrke also won the discus with a 40.62-meter throw. The second place finisher, UNC Pembroke's Katherine Davis, was 3.24 meters behind Ehrke.

    "Good marks, but not quite where I want to be yet," said Ehrke. She said that her current season-best distances are under what she'll need to qualify for nationals. Her toughest competition in the conference will come from U. of Chicago junior Claire Ray, who placed second in the nation in the discus last year. In past conference championships, Ehrke and Ray have battled for the top two spots in discus and hammer. Ehrke thinks that it will take a 45-meter discus throw and a 48- to 49-meter hammer throw to top Ray.
    Continued...
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    • Meet the Provost: providing answers to tough questions
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    Sports

    • Athlete association active off the field
    • Baseball: Walks cost Spartans in twinbill sweep
    • Softball: Andrasik's glove, bat key to win over Hiram
    • Spartan Spotlight: Angel Rice
    • Track & Field: Last stop before UAAs: Lynchburg

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