DULUTH – The Minnesota Morris track & field team closed out the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) Indoor Track & Field Championships with the Cougars winning three event titles Saturday. As a team, both the men’s and women’s program finished third with 106 and 137 points, respectively.

“After such a great day yesterday, I knew it was going to be tough to beat, but day two was even better,” head coach Jessica Devine said. “In a championship meet, it’s often easy to get caught up in places, ranks, and PRs so going into the meet, I told the team to remember why we do what we do, to fight hard for the team, and to have fun. We competed for a greater purpose than places, ranks, and PRs this weekend and I couldn’t be more proud of where that mindset landed us at the end of the weekend.

“This was our best meet by far this season in terms of the results we saw. Our women’s throws were purely dominant, advancing all five to finals and scoring four places in both the shot put and weight throw (with Jessica Bliese and Brennyn DePaulis going 1-2 in shot put). We won 4 of 8 open running events on the men’s side. And we had two meet records and two school records. We’ll also chalk up a handful of all-conference honors. We couldn’t have expected a better weekend.”

Sophomore Jessica Bliese captured a gold medal in the women’s shot put with her distance of 39-10.75, which is the No. 3 mark in school history. Along with Bliese in the women’s shot put, Brennyn DePaulis placed second with the No. 5 mark in school history (39-2.50), Kari Didier finished fourth (38-0) and Jenica Moes took sixth (34-5.50).

Justin Pearson won two events on the day as he won the men’s 60-meter dash and the men’s 200-meter dash. In the 60-meter dash, he defended his title from last year as he crossed the finish line in 7.03 and then he ran a school record and meet record time of 22.62 in the men’s 200-meter dash.

In the men’s shot put, Trent Merkins and Alex Boyd took second and third, respectively. Merkins recorded a mark of 44-0.50, while Boyd posted a distance of 43-7.75, which ranks seventh all-time at Morris.

A pair of Cougars finished in the top-three in the women’s 60-meter hurdles, as Brooke Hogan and Emily Ciesynski finished second and third, respectively. Hogan, a junior, ran 9.48, which is the No. 2 time in school history, while Ciesynski, a senior, ran 9.67.

Ciesynski also tallied the No. 5 time in program history (26.98) in the women’s 200-meter dash as she finished second overall.

In the women’s 60-meter dash, freshman Jenna Benson ran to a second-place finish with her time of 8.29. Along with Benson, Ciesynski placed fourth with a time of 8.37.

The men’s 60-meter hurdles saw Cole Kvistero finish fourth with his time of 9.78.

Sophomore Kaitlyn Ladwig picked up a pair of points for the Minnesota Morris women in the 800-meter run as she finished seventh overall with her time of 2:34.87.

Ryan Anderson brought home a silver medal in the men’s 800-meter run with the No. 7 time in program history (2:00.44). Along with Anderson, Andrew Stanek took fifth in 2:05.60, which is the No. 10 time in school history.

Katherine Novak recorded a second-place finish in the women’s 3,000-meter run with her time of 10:55.98, while Paige Stearns clocked in at 11:22.59 to finish fifth.

In the men’s 3,000-meter run, Benjamin Barnack took seventh with his time of 9:42.62.

Zion Zaloudek took fourth in the men’s pole vault with his height of 12-1.50, while McKenna Vininski placed eighth in the women’s pole vault with her mark of 7-4.50.

The women’s 4×400-meter relay of Ciesynski, Kimberly Olurankinse, Hogan and Novak ran to a time of 4:14.43 to finish third overall. Their time Saturday ranks third all-time in school history.

The men’s 4×400-meter relay of Pearson, Stanek, Brennen Meyer and Anderson combined for a time of 3:41.53 to place fifth.


UMAC Championship
(1) Northwestern 92, (3) St. Scholastica 89 (OT)


UMAC Championship
(2) Bethany Lutheran 55, (1) UW-Superior 54


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