Brennan, Branche lead DU, excel at home invitationals

By David Allen

Sports Editor Emeritus

Aedin Brennan ‘16 earned NCAC field athlete of the year honors after a banner outdoor track and field season. She has continued that success into these brisk winter months.

The junior shows no signs of letting up, especially after her second place showing in the pentathlon at the All-Ohio Combined Events Championship, held at DU’s own Mitchell Fieldhouse. Her score of 3,320 points was highlighted by top-five finishes in each of the pentathlon’s five events–the 60m hurdles, high jump, long jump, shot put and 800m run.

Brennan finished 269 points behind first place Melanie Hall of Baldwin Wallace. Newcomers Jessica Nix ‘18 and Hannah Hall ‘18 competed alongside Brennan on Sunday. The freshman duo posted combined scores of 2290 and 2092 points, respectively.

The DU women finished fifth at the Bob Shannon Invitational the previous day with a total of 47 points. Kate Benson ‘16, Olivia Ireland ‘17, Phoebe Osterhout ‘18 and Abbi Boss ‘15 teamed up to win the distance medley relay, beating runner-up Kenyon by 25 seconds in the process.

Benson was happy with the performance but is excited for the near future.

“Our team has really been building these last three weeks, but we have seen some really great performances early on,” Boss said. “I think we will continue to improve as our teammates come back from injuries, and as we get into some more competitive meets like All-Ohio. It also takes a few weeks to get used to racing again, and once we adjust we should see some improvements.”

The men also placed fifth at the Bob Shannon Invitational. Wallace Branche ‘16 recorded a record jump of 45’8.50” and took first place in the triple jump.

Branche, a self-critic, took his first place as momentum to improve.

“I’m proud of my performance but I’m not content just yet. I have a lot of work to reach my potential for the season,” Branche said. “I think mental mistakes are messing me up at the moment.  I definitely think I have the ability to jump far but the little jumping mechanics flaws that come from mental mistakes are ruining my jumps.”

In addition to Branche, Lester Harris ‘17, Church Humphreys ‘18 and Deven Shakya ‘18 placed in the top ten in the event.

The key to DU’s success in this event is practice, specifically fundamentals.

“This week our coach was focusing on runway speed and consistency with hitting my steps so that I won’t foul,” Branche said. “This pretty much makes us much more confident jumpers.”

Mitch Keller ‘16 finished second in the mile, while Andy Shaw ‘15 recorded a 42’0.75” throw to take fifth in the shot put.

The Big Red will return to action on Feb. 14 at the All-Ohio Invitational in Westerville, Ohio.