PEORIA, Ill. -- The Bradley men’s and women’s track and field teams will travel to Nashville, Tenn., for the third consecutive year to participate in the Vanderbilt Black & Gold Friday and Saturday after opening the outdoor season this past Saturday in Edwardsville, Ill.
The Braves look to build on strong performances at last week’s Cougar Classic this weekend, opening competition Friday with sophomores Elizabeth Dutcher (Williamston, Mich./Williamston) and Emily Delvo (Springfield, Ill./Sacred Heart Griffin) highlighting the first day of the two-day meet.
Dutcher is scheduled to compete in the 200 meters Friday at 5 p.m. in the first of her four events. She will also open Saturday’s action at 11 a.m. in both the high jump and long jump in addition to the 100 meter hurdles Saturday afternoon. Dutcher had career-bests in both the high jump and javelin Saturday to open the season.
Delvo will run in the 1,500 meter invitational race Friday at 6 p.m., as she competes in the 1,500 meters for the first time in nearly two years. In the outdoor opener, Delvo clocked the sixth fastest 3,000 meter time in school history to win the event at the Cougar Classic.
Freshman Mike Bianchina (Geneva, Ill./Geneva) will get things started for the Bradley men’s track and field team Saturday at 11:45 a.m. in the 2,000 meter steeplechase. Bianchina competed in both the 800 and 1,500 meters last week in his first collegiate track meet, turning in top five times on the squad this season in both events.
“We are looking forward to competing in some warmer weather this weekend,” said Bradley head coach Marc Burns. “This meet also gives a chance to race against some competition we do not normally see here in the Midwest. Every time we lace up the spikes it is a step closer toward the MVC meet in May.”
Saturday’s 1,500 meter women’s race is slated for 12:30 p.m., with freshman Casey Kramer (Yorkville, Ill./Yorkville) expected to pace a pack of four Braves in the field. Kramer and Delvo are also expected to challenge junior Kyela Specht (Munster, Ind./Munster) in the women’s 800 meters at 2:30 p.m. Specht was Bradley’s top finisher in the 800 meters at the Cougar Classic and turned in one of the top-five 800 meter times in school history last spring.
A trio of men’s individuals will run in both the 800 and 1,500 meters with junior Aaron Peck (Moline, Ill./Moline) joining the group in the 800 meters at 2:45 p.m. Freshman Daniel Gagne (Wauwatosa, Wis./East) owns the fastest 800 time this spring among the BU entries as he looks to break two minutes.
Sophomore Kristen Busch (Waterloo, Ill./Freeburg) and junior Sarah McMahon (Colfax, Wis./Colfax) will push a pack of five Braves in the women’s 3,000 meters at 3:30 p.m. Busch finished second in the 3,000 meters at the MVC Indoor Championship, while McMahon owns the third-best 3,000 time in program history.
Junior Chase Coffey (Hanna City, Ill./Farmington) set a school record in the 3,000 meters last year at the Vanderbilt Black & Gold and will look to challenge his own school mark of 8:30.00 Saturday at 3:45 p.m. Freshman Patrick Campbell (Wauwatosa, Wis./Wauwatosa) will look to build on a strong track debut after posting the fourth-best 3,000 meter time in school history last week in Edwardsville, Ill., as he is expected to help pace five Bradley runners in the field.
The teams wrap up the busy two days Saturday at 4 p.m. with the 4x400 meter relays.
Next week, Bradley will send a contingent to the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif., (April 4) in addition to competing at the EIU Big Blue Invitational in Charleston, Ill., April 4 & 5.