January 11, 2013 - Senior pole vaulter Kayla Caldwell has already set the school record in the pole vault several times over in her terrific indoor track career. Friday night, she took her record-setting on the road.
Caldwell easily finished in first place in the pole vault, clearing 13 feet, 1 1/2 inches (4.00 meters), which set a James O'Neill Arena record. Caldwell and the Chargers opened the new calendar year at the Doug Hansen Open, hosted by Saginaw Valley State University.
That mark also tied her own indoor school record in the pole vault event.
Team captain and senior Erin Benjamin also earned herself a victory, winning the 200 meter dash in 26.53 seconds.
Another of the team's experienced seniors took two firsts, this time 2012 All-American Kathy Dirksen, who won the weight throw with a toss of 16.94 meters, more than a full meter better than anyone else in the field. She also won the shot put with a mark of 13.06 meters.
Caldwell, Dirksen and Benjamin are battle-tested seniors on the team, but this was a night where one of its youngest members also achieved the first of what figures to be many victories to come in her career.
Freshman Corinne Zehner took first place in the 60 meter hurdles, easily outdistancing the competition with a time of 9.47 seconds. Zehner is one of several promising young runners on this year's Charger squad.
Another exciting freshman is distance runner Kristina Galat, who took second place in the 3000 meter run with a time of 10:32.74. Not far behind her was Victoria McCaffrey (pictured) who was third in the event at 10:34.40.
Gagne got in on the first-place fun, winning the long jump with an impressive leap of 5.29 meters.
Hillsdale is back in action next weekend at the two-day Gladstein Invitational.