Findlay, OH – The University of Findlay track and field team will play host to the Findlay Classic on Friday and Saturday, January 27-28 in the Koehler Center on the campus of the University of Findlay.
The highlight of the event will be the 11th Annual Elite Throws Competition, one of the premiere throwing events in the country. There will be 206 of the most talented throws athletes in the Midwest representing NCAA Division I, II, and III as well as the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
Friday's events will begin on Friday, Jan. 27 at 2:00pm with the beginning of the men's heptathlon. Saturday, the heptathlon again kicks off competition, beginning at 9:30am. The Elite Throws begin on Saturday at 1:30pm with the women's elite shot put.
Women Elite Weight Throw (Saturday | 4:00pm)
Findlay will have three throwers participate in the elite division of the women's weight throw. Junior Tynlle Gumbs, who recently was named Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Field Athlete of the Week, enters the event with the second-best mark this season, a throw of 20.23m (66'4 ½") which is the best in the GLIAC and third best in DII this season. Gumbs was the NJCAA National Champion last season, holds the NJCAA national record, and holds national records for the British Virgin Islands in the weight throw, hammer throw, and discus.
Senior Erica King and senior Liz Streacker enter with the eighth and ninth best throws this season with distances of 18.92m (62' ¾") (#8 in DII this season) and 18.56m (60'10 ¾") (#9 in DII this season). King is a two-time all-American and was the national runner-up last season in the hammer throw.
The top thrower entering the event is Sade Olatoye, from the Ohio State University. Olatoye, who competed for Team USA at the Junior World Championship last year, has a season-best throw of 21.63m (70' 11 ½") and is the fourth-best throw in Division I this year. Dayton's Erin Reese is another top competitor. Last season Reese was the Atlantic 10 champion in the weight throw and was the A10 Most Outstanding Rookie Performer in both the indoor and outdoor meets.
Women Elite Shot Put (Saturday | 1:30pm)
The Oilers' top performer in the women's shot put will be senior Alex DeVincentis who enters the event seeded fifth with her season-best throw of 15.10m (49'6 ½"), the fourth-best throw in DII this year. DeVincentis is a two-time GLIAC champion and three-time all-American.
The top seed in the field is Aliyah Gustafson from Bowling Green State University. She enters with the #18 throw in DI this year, a 16.10m (53' ½"). Gustafson, who holds the BGSU record in both the indoor and outdoor seasons, was the outdoor Mid American Conference (MAC) champion in the shot put and was an all-American in the event.
Ohio State's Sade Olatoye, who is also competing in the weight throw, is seeded second in the shot put with a 15.66m (51'4 ½"). In this event, Olatoye was named all-Big Ten.
Men Elite Weight Throw (Saturday | 5:30pm)
Sophomore Austin Combs is the Oilers top thrower this season and is seeded eighth with a season-best throw of 20.33m (66'8 ½"). That throw is fourth in DII this season.
The top thrower in the field is Olympic Trials Qualifier and Grand Valley State alumni, Darien Thornton. He was a nine-time all-American while competing for the Lakers and owns the third longest throw in the history of Division II. This past year, he won the DII National Championship in the hammer throw and finished 10th at the Olympic Trials in the event.
Men Elite Shot Put (Saturday | 3:00pm)
Findlay senior Ben Hahler is the Oilers' lone participant in the shot put and enters as the sixth seed. He has a personal best throw of 18.08m (59' 3 ¾") and owns a season-best distance of 17.69m (58' ½"), the fourth-best throw in DII this season. In his time at Findlay, Hahler has earned all-American status three times.
The top seed belongs to Tiffin's Coy Blair, a two-time all-American, two-time GLIAC champion, Tiffin record holder, and Olympic Trials qualifier. He has the best throw in DII this season at 18.45m (60'6 ½").