ST. PAUL – The University of Minnesota Morris track & field program recorded top-five finishes at the Gene Glader Classic, hosted by Bethel University Saturday. On the day, the Cougars tallied top-10 performances in school history, which included the No. 2 distance in the men’s shot put by Trent Merkins (46-10.25).

“Our continuous improvements continue to impress us, coaches,” head coach Jessica Devine said. “We asked the team to go after some big marks today and they delivered! The number of top-five finishes we had was impressive against some very strong Bethel, Waldorf, and UW-Stout teams.

“Our throws crew really stood out this week with some monster PRs. Mason Stevens, Jenica Moes, Jeff McEarchern, and Brennyn DePaulis all added over a meter to their previous best marks. Trent Merkins leaped past the 14m mark for the first time to move up to second in school history. The consistency in improvement and competition within the group will be extremely significant throughout the next few weeks leading up to the UMAC Championships.”

In the men’s throws, Merkins paced the Cougars with a third-place finish in the shot put with the No. 2 mark in program history (46-10.25) and a sixth-place finish in the weight throw (44-4.75).

Katherine Novak recorded a pair of runner-up finishes for the Minnesota Morris women on the track as she ran 2:28.20 in the 800-meter run and 5:23.88 in the mile. Her time of 2:28.20 moves her from fourth to third all-time in school history, while her time of 5:23.88 improves her No. 3 standing at Morris.

In the women’s shot put, Jessica Bliese finished first with a mark of 39-9.25, while Brennyn DePaulis took third with a distance of 37-11.5. Both Bliese and DePaulis climbed the Morris all-time charts, as Bliese moved into a tie for third all-time and DePaulis now is No. 7.

The women’s weight throw saw Bliese and Sierra Paske finish third (44-8.25) and fourth (42-1.25), respectively. Bliese now ranks 10th all-time at Morris in the weight throw with her distance Saturday.

Jenna Benson tallied a pair of sixth-place finishes in the 60-meter dash (8.26) and the long jump (16-0.5). Benson now moves into sole possession of sixth all-time at Morris in the long jump with her distance of 16-0.5.

On the track for the Minnesota Morris women, Emily Ciesynski won the 400-meter dash (1:00.79), finished fourth in the 60-meter hurdles (9.99), and took seventh in the 200-meter dash (27.63). Along with Ciesynski in the 60-meter hurdles, Brooke Hogan placed third with a time of 9.93.

Sophomore Justin Pearson won two events and recorded a runner-up finish. On the day, Pearson won the 60-meter dash (7.08) and the 200-meter dash (22.82), while taking second in the 400-meter dash (50.90). Pearson’s time of 50.90 Saturday improves his No. 3 standing in school history.

In the men’s mile, Ryan Anderson finished third with the No. 4 time in program history – 4:32.73.

In the field for the Cougar men, Matthew Kingland took ninth in the high jump (5-6) and Zion Zaloudek finished 11th in the pole vault (11-5.75).

The Cougars are back in action on Saturday, Feb. 9, in Collegeville, Minnesota for the Saint John’s Invitational. The meet is slated for an 11 a.m. start.

MANKATO – The University of Minnesota Morris men’s basketball team dropped an 86-68 contest to the Bethany Lutheran College Vikings Saturday. Noah Grove and James Pendleton led the Cougar offense with 15 points apiece, while Jeffrey Halverson chipped in 14 points.

The Vikings built an early double-digit lead as they opened the game an 14-3 run over the first 3:29 of play. The Cougars were able to cut the Viking lead to nine points four times, but the Vikings responded each time.

Bethany Lutheran held a 42-29 lead heading into halftime as Cire Mayfield made a jumper with seven seconds left in the opening half.

Just 11 seconds into the second half a 3-pointer from Grove made it 42-32 in favor of Bethany Lutheran, but Bethany Lutheran responded with back-to-back 3-pointers.

The Vikings outscored the Cougars by just five points in the second half, but had roughly a 20-point lead for the final eight minutes of regulation.

Minnesota Morris falls to 8-13 on the year and 5-7 in Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) play, while Bethany Lutheran is now 16-6 overall and 11-2 in conference action.

The Cougars now head to New Ulm, Minnesota, to take on Martin Luther on Wednesday, Feb. 6. Game time is set for 7:15 p.m.


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