Transylvania track and field competes in loaded Division I field at Kentucky Invitational

Graham Smith

Lexington, Ky. – The Transylvania track and field team continued its march towards the postseason with at the Kentucky Track & Field Invitational at the University of Kentucky's Outdoor Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Pioneers were tested throughout the day by a stout field that featured numerous NCAA Division I programs including the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville.

"It's always good to push yourself out of your comfort zone and test yourself against high-level competition and we got that opportunity today," remarked Transylvania head coach Taylor Throckmorton. "I was pleased with how we came into a very competitive environment and didn't let it overwhelm us. We had a number of athletes attain personal or season bests in extremely cold weather and in a tough meet which was very exciting to see."

Leading the way for the Pioneers was Graham Smith, who built upon his recent string of impressive performances with a third-place showing in the men's javelin throw. Smith turned in a throw of 55.40 meters on Saturday.

"For Graham, the distance wasn't his best this season but it was another great opportunity for him to mix it up with high-level scholarship athletes and to come out with a third-place finish is confirmation that we're moving in the right direction," commented Throckmorton. "Anytime you're throwing in the cold and rain it's not ideal. Today wasn't about the distance, it was about performing well in a competitive meet and he did just that."

On the women's side, Rian Boelter recorded a pair of top-10 finishes to lead the Pioneers. The junior placed sixth in the women's high jump event with a jump of 1.55 meters and seventh in the women's javelin throw with a throw of 30.82 meters.

"The opening height in the high jump was two inches higher than Rian had jumped this outdoor season but she still came in with an attacking mindset and ended up clearing it on her first attempt," added Throckmorton. "This was a huge confidence boost, not only because she cleared a good height, but because of the mental toughness it takes to do that on her first jump of the competition. "There were 16 jumpers in that field and she was the only D-III competitor and still placed sixth.  That is a huge testament to the fact that you don't have to be a Division I athlete to be competitive at that level."

Capping off the day for the Pioneers was Simon Yount, who broke the Transylvania school record in the men's discus throw with a throw of 40.85 meters. The mark was good for an 11th-place finish on Saturday.

"I was very impressed by how Simon competed today," reflected Throckmorton. "He finished in the top half of a field of primarily Division I athletes, finished just two spots out of the finals, and broke his own school record by over two meters. To do that in these conditions and against such high-level athletes was an amazing feat. Simon has been steadily progressing the past couple years and we're really seeing great things from him as we head into the conference championship."

The Pioneers will now turn their attention to the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships next week on the campus of Mount St. Joseph University. The two-day meet will begin at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, April 26 at the Mount Sports Complex before wrapping up on Saturday afternoon.

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