By Stephen Hauser

Eastern’s indoor track team opened up the season at the highly-competitive University of Kentucky Invitational. Eastern got the chance prove itself against the best universities in the nation. Ohio State, Michigan State, the University of Florida, Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Auburn were just some of the teams that competed. The meet was a great way to test the strength and conditioning of both teams.

Coach Rick Erdmann said he believed that the meet offered a great early test.

“We learned the type of shape we are in and what we can do to improve on it,” Erdmann said.

Sophomore sprinter Lutisha Bowen blazed her way into the finals of the 60-meter high hurdles. Bowen finished in 18th after committing a false start.

Bowen was just one of the Lady Colonels who had a strong performance over the weekend.

Freshman sprinter Bianca Forbes had a stellar debut in her first collegiate meet. Forbes finished in 18th place in the 400-meter dash and won her heat with a time of 56.68. Forbes ran the fifth fastest women’s indoor 400 meters time in school history.

Junior Kat Pagano finished in 17 place in the 3,000-meter run with the time of ten minutes and 12 seconds. Pagano finished ahead of runners from Vanderbilt, Louisville, Georgia and Tennessee.

“I felt strong and I’m happy with my time, especially with the competition at the meet,” Pagano said.

Still, Pagano said she would have liked to be able to have changed something about her performance.

“I wouldn’t have started out the race so conservatively,” Pagano said.

But she was pleased with the results, adding that she stumbled on a good luck sign when she arrived at the meet.

“I knew it was going to be a good day because as I was walking into the indoor track, I found two pennies heads up,” Pagano said.

Fellow 3000-meter runner Ashley Chisholm, sophomore from Nova Scotia, ran a strong race.

“It was a good meet to get back into the swing of things,” Chisholm said.

Chisholm said she knows what she needs to improve on to have an even better race. “I need to get a lot more stronger at the 2k point, because it is the most challenging part of the race,” Chisholm said. “I will work on getting my split time to be more consistent.”

The men’s sprinters and distances runners had strong performances as well.

Junior sprinter Kris Hawkins won his 400-meter dash heat with a time of 49.76.

Junior David Willis finished in 18 place in the one mile run and senior teammate Christopher Rengifo finished in 20th place.

Rengifo thought he could have performed better and knows what it will take to improve in time for the next meet.

“I did not do so well since coming off an injury that kept me out for three weeks,” Rengifo said. “I was not in shape. I have to keep on doing mileage and work extra hard.”

The men and women travel to Lexington on Jan. 29 and 30 for the Rod McCravy Invitational.