April 26, 2013 - The first full day of competition at the 47th Annual Hillsdale College Gina Relays was greeted by the nicest weather of the season, and a highlight-film performance by one of the up-and-coming runners at the host school.
Sophomore Elise Byron put together one of the best races of her career, winning the open 400 meter dash in 58.76 seconds. She ran even with Western Michigan's Emily McAnsh around the final turn, but used an impressive burst of speed in the final straightaway to break the tape ahead of everyone else.
Francesca Krohn took fourth in the 400 as well.
Freshman Corinne Zehner made her Gina Relays debut with a fifth-place showing in the open 400 hurdles event with a time of 1:04.58, nearly two seconds off her seeded time. Four runners from the Mid-American Conference were the only ones to best Zehner in the race.
Senior Kayla Caldwell added another prestigious entry into her amazing resume Saturday afternoon.
Caldwell, the top-ranked pole vaulter in NCAA Division II, set the new Gina Relays record in her specialty event, clearing 13 feet, 9 1/4 inches to easily win the event in day three of the three-day meet at Hillsdale College. She finished a quarter-inch shy of one foot better than all of her competitors in the event.
The pole vault location was moved from the south end of the track to the east side, to better deal with tailwinds. An elevated runway was featured, something that drew rave reviews from coaches at the meet.
Freshman Kristina Galat had a terrific Gina Relays debut for the Chargers, finishing second in the open 1500 meter race with a time of 4:39.36.
Both of the team's sprint relay teams, the 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams, placed third. The 1600 relay team finished incredibly close to the school record, recording a time of 3:51.91. The record is just .81 seconds faster than that mark.
Junior Amber Mueller took fifth in the javelin throw at 32.09 meters.
Photo by Sheridan Markatos