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Track and field shatters school records at indoor opening weekend in the Commodore Challenge

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

Belmont track and field had a rust-buster to remember with three program records broken at the Commodore Challenge, kicking of their indoor season in fine form.

Hosted by neighbor Vanderbilt University at its multipurpose facility down the road from Belmont, 14 universities competed Friday and Saturday, including Southeastern Conference’s Auburn University, Atlantic Coast Conference’s Georgia Tech and several Ohio Valley Conference schools.

This marked the first time since February 2020 that the Bruins saw action indoors — opening their spring season to satisfying results.

Junior distance runners Finn Birnie and Lily Hallum each shattered school records in their respective 1,000-meter races. Birnie clocked in at 2:30.16, while Hallum crossed the finish line at 2:58.19, setting new times to beat for the Bruins.

On the field, women’s pole vaulter Tyra Finkeldey also inked her name in Belmont’s books. The senior broke her own record by a whopping 18 centimeters, clearing the coveted 4.00-meter bar and placing second in her event.

The meet opened Friday as the Bruins suited up for the field events with high jumpers, weight throwers, long jumpers and the men’s pole vaulters stepping into the spotlight.

On the men’s side, sophomore Aidan Dinsbeer soared over 4.50 meters to place third in pole vault while senior Noah Grimm leaped to a fourth-place finish in high jump.

Junior thrower Ridvan Kazimov chucked the big 35-pound beyond 50 feet to place sixth, and senior Cal Widener placed eighth after qualifying for the final rounds.

The weight throw at Vanderbilt’s indoor facility Friday. Belmont Vision / A.J. Wuest

Friday’s track events brought cheers from the Belmont crowd with Birnie’s and Hallum’s record-breaking 1,000-meter runs.

In the 300-meter, sophomore sprinter Qua’Jon Fuller won his heat and placed third overall with 35.53 seconds.

In the same sprinting distance, freshman Emory Moore made her collegiate debut for the Bruins, clocking in at 40.73 seconds.

The Bruins were on a roll headed into the last event: the 5,000-meter.

Junior Katie Flaherty placed second, closely followed by freshman Kaitlyn Vanderkolk in third and sophomore Grace Litzinger in fourth.

On the men’s side, senior Ben Naeger finished the close-to-17 laps as runner-up and sophomore Ethan Hammer came in third.

With athletes waking up bright and early for day two, Saturday’s contest consisted of more running events alongside shot put, triple jump and women’s pole vault.

Continuing on the field, Kazimov showed up with another sixth-place finish in shot put, with a 15.80-meter throw.

Coming back from Friday’s top performances, both Fuller, who ran the 400-meter dash in 49.75 seconds, and Birnie, who completed the mile in a personal best time of 4:12.08, once again proved competitive with fourth and seventh place finishes respectively.

The Commodore Challenge was a solid start to the Belmont track and field season as several athletes racked up personal bests and good initial performances besides the notable school records.

The Bruins will be back in action next weekend at the Commodore’s multipurpose facility for the two-day Vanderbilt Invitational starting Friday.


PHOTO: Lily Hallum runs her way to a record at the Commodore Challenge. Belmont Athletics

This article was written by A.J. Wuest.

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