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Bradley track and field continues to make history

Julia Nielsen, Photo Courtesy of Bradley Athletics

This past weekend, Bradley track and field had multiple historic performances at the IUPUI Invitational to continue their great start to the indoor season.

The Braves looked to keep their momentum and did just that, delivering 12 entries into the record books. 

To start things off on Friday, junior Shae Fuller broke the record in the women’s long jump event with a distance of 5.66 meters, which notched her in fourth place for the event.

The team’s success continued in the men’s 600-meter when freshman Jaxson Copelin claimed the third-best time in Bradley history and took home first place. He came in at 1:21.10.

“I know what I can do,” Copelin said. “I trust my coach’s training, and I got my team behind me rooting for me, and I want to do well for them.”

Senior Mason Jones placed third, redshirt sophomore Ivan Wescott placed fourth to set his new personal best for the event and freshman Kaden Kingsmith took sixth.

Senior Julia Nielsen competed in the women’s 600-meter and posted a time of 1:31.33, which was not only her new personal best but also fast enough to claim first place in the field and take the second-fastest time in school history. She competed alongside freshman Léna Stolla, who took fourth, and junior Andriana Erotocritou who came in eighth place.

“I think we all competed very well,” Nielsen said. “I feel like everyone did the best they could do in that meet. For myself, I just felt like I was training while also including the speed. It was fun and a good first competition of the season.”

The record-breaking performances did not stop there, as junior Eli Rieker broke the fastest men’s 200-meter time in Bradley history at 21.76. That time was enough to notch him a fifth place finish.

The next day, Nielsen put in another great effort in the women’s mile, placing first again along with sophomore Anna Perry, who finished right behind her. Redshirt sophomore Julia de la Piedra Sitjas also finished in seventh.

With her strong performances this past weekend, Nielsen has high hopes for herself as she heads into the rest of the season.

“In conference, I would like to win both the eighth and the mile and hopefully make it to nationals,” Nielsen said. “For the outdoor season, I want to keep improving and I want to make it to the regionals and nationals there as well.”

In the men’s mile, Bradley athletes took all of the top three spots, with senior Jack Crull taking first, senior Max Dietrich taking second and freshman Zach Balzer taking third while also reaching a new personal best. Freshman Parker Nold came in a few places behind at eighth, while sophomore Brock Rice finished behind him in ninth.

In the women’s 400-meter, junior Amiyah Davis came in third with less than a second separating her from the competitors ahead of her. Sophomore Syeira Campbell finished in 14th and Erotocritou in 16th.

Sophomore Trixie Wraith took home another first-place finish in the women’s 800-meter to finish out the meet. Lastly, it was an all Bradley podium in the women’s 3000-meter as sophomore Nadia Potgieter took first, freshman Ciara Thornley took second and junior Abigail Hancock took third. 

After another successful weekend, many runners had high praise for head coach Andrew Carlson.

“He has really made the team come together more, and I feel that we have a lot of people improving,” Nielsen said. “We are all happier and closer, and he is giving attention to all of us which is good for everyone, even if you’re injured or doing well, I think he’s doing a great job.”

Overall, it was a very successful weekend for the Braves between the new personal bests, broken records and many top finishes across the board for the track and field athletes. The Braves will look to carry this success on Feb. 2-3 at the Meyo Invitational.

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