Rio sets new records at NAIA meet


By Randy Payton - For Ohio Valley Publishing



GULF SHORES, Ala. — Nikola Andjelic earned a second straight All-American honor, while Connor Messer and Allison McNeal each set new school records to highlight the University of Rio Grande’s performance over the final two days of the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships at Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium.

Andjelic, a junior from Split, Croatia, finished fourth in the Men’s Decathlon on Friday after piling up 6,697 points in the 10-event competition.

The top eight finishers in each competition are named All-Americans. Andjelic, who was in seventh place after the first five events on Thursday, earned the honor in the same event last year.

Andjleic finished second in the 110-meter hurdles (14.85), third in the pole vault (4.30m), fifth in the javelin throw (47.63m), and sixth in both the discus throw (33.52m) and 1,500-meter run (4:39.34).

Messer, a freshman from Ashland, Ky., cleared 15’-5” to surpass the previous personal best of 15’-1” he’d set just shy of two weeks earlier at the Lindsey Wilson Twilight.

His effort on Saturday was good enough for a 13th place finish overall.

McNeal, a freshman from Logan, Ohio set a new school record in the Women’s Shot Put with a heave of 43’6.5” and placed 13th overall. Her finish was the best among freshman competitors.

Junior Tyanna Petty (Somerset, OH) missed an All-American finish in the Women’s Heptathlon by just two points. She finished ninth with 4,504 points in the seven-event competition.

Petty, who was 10th after Thursday’s first four events, won the 800-meter run by just over two seconds with a time of 2:16.94, while placing 12th in the javelin throw (27.32m) and 13th in the long jump (4.66m).

Jamestown’s Kaiann Arellano edged Petty for the final All-American nod with 4,506 points.

Petty was also part of the Women’s High Jump competition, but failed to clear a height after qualifying with the seventh-best mark and winning the national title in the event during the indoor season.

Sophomore Mike Norris (Dayton, OH) placed 10th in the Men’s 800-Meter Run with a time of 1:52.98. He failed to reach the finals – and grab a guaranteed All-American honor – by just .13 seconds.

The remaining three Rio athletes were part of the Men’s Marathon competition.

Senior Blake Freed (Uhrichsville, OH) placed 29th with a time of 3:05.53, while fellow senior Dallas Guy (Buffalo, OH) was 34th in a time of 3:11.35.

Freshman Kameron Carpenter (Newark, OH) did not finish the race as a result of an injury.

As a team, Rio Grande’s men finished in a tie for 44th place among the 69 schools who posted a team score.

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.

By Randy Payton

For Ohio Valley Publishing