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Tiger Track & Field earns podium finishes, personal bests at first indoor meet

Missouri opened their indoor season in Nashville this weekend and racked up many personal bests and several Top-5 finishes in a field that included Auburn and Kentucky.

Claudina Diaz competes in the high jump in Arkansas last season (Photo/ Kristen Young, Mizzou Athletics). Diaz opened her 2024 indoor season with a bronze finish.

Missouri threw, jumped and ran its way onto the podium in several events as the team opened their indoor season at the Vanderbilt Invitational in Nashville this weekend, competing amongst a field that included SEC teams Auburn, Kentucky, and host school Vanderbilt. Missouri returns several NCAA Championship and Pan-American competitors who earned personal bests this weekend. This podium roundup introduces some of the fastest and strongest Tigers to watch out for this season. Let’s get started.

Throwers:

  • Petra Gombas won the women’s weight throw with a personal best 19.3 meters, 1.83 meters farther than the silver medalist. Her farthest throw came in just her second of six attempts and marks her highest career finish.
  • Mitch Weber and Sam Innes placed third and fourth respectively in the men’s weight throw. Weber’s 20.48 meter throw is just shy of his 20.88 PB in 2022.
  • Emily Offenheiser won the shot put event, throwing a personal-best 15.77 meters. Offenheiser’s indoor throw is the tenth farthest all-time for the Tigers.

The more you know…what is the weight throw?

The weight throw is a relatively new field event, popularized at Mizzou by former Tiger (turned academic coordinator) Kearsten Peoples, who won the event at the NCAA Nationals in 2015. It’s an indoor alternative to the hammer throw event. Throwers swing and launch a weighted ball (20 pounds for collegiate women and 35 for collegiate men) attached to a chain. Each thrower receives six attempts and scores the farthest throw.

**For context, an average-sized vacuum weighs about 20 pounds, so imagine launching your vacuum 62 feet, (about the length of a bowling lane). That’s how far Petra Gombas threw this weekend!

Jumpers:

  • Claudina Diaz, who placed fifth at the NCAA Championship last spring, took third in the high jump Friday, clearing 1.74 meters.
  • Rock Bridge alum Quinton Brown’s 2.04 meter jump earned fourth place in the men’s high jump. Brown also competed in the 100-meter dash and the 4x100 relay last season for Missouri.
  • Triple jumper Sterling Scott took fourth in the triple jump. Scott is a true freshman from Starkville, Mississippi.

Runners:

  • A trio of Tigers finished second through fourth in the men’s 1000-meter race, racing near identical splits through the second lap and a half. Johnny Martin took silver in 2:26:69, with his teammates Ethan Lee and Andrew Simard close behind in 2:27:20 and 2:27:44.
  • Kelsey Schweizer placed fourth in a competitive 1000-meter heat, racing 2:44:16. Schweizer earned the second-fastest time in program history. She raced only .04 seconds behind the record-holder, her older sister and Olympian, Karissa Schweizer, according to Missouri’s record book.

What’s next?

Missouri will take a week off from competing before traveling to the DeLoss Dodds Invitational in Manhattan, Kansas February 2 and 3. The USTFCCA will release its Week 1 indoor rankings on Monday.