The University of Northern Iowa men's and women's track & field teams opened the season with a bang on Friday evening at the Iowa State Holiday Preview meet in Ames. Among the notable performances by the Panthers was Olimpia Nowak's title in the pentathlon. With 3,917 points to win the event, Nowak is the early national leader.
Junior Sam Cameron was one-hundredth of a second from matching the UNI school record in the 300m dash currently held by former Panther All-American Shantel Twiggs. Cameron took second place in 39.73 seconds. Twiggs ran 39.72 in 1994.
Senior Jenna Wexter vaulted 12-05.50 (3.80m) to win the women's pole vault.
Lindsay Gierke placed fifth in the 300m dash with a time of 41.16. Freshman Darian Thompson was sixth in the 400m dash at 58.60.
Senior Daniel Gooris won the men's pole vault, clearing 16-06.75 (5.05m).
Freshman Sebastian Barth placed second in the 60m hurdles with a time of 8.05 seconds. Barth's time topped all performances by the Panthers last season and is only one-hundredth of a second shy of entering the UNI all-time top-five list in the event.
Derek Kramer, a member of UNI's honorable mention All-America 4x100m relay team, opened the season with a personal-best time in the 60m dash, running 6.93 seconds in the prelims and taking eighth place in the finals.
UNI's freshman class also got off to a tremendous start in the men's open 400m dash. Four of the Panthers' true freshmen clocked times under 50 seconds in their first collegiate action, with Derek Drew leading the way at 49.29 for fourth place overall. Sheldon Magee ran 49.63, Jesse Davenport finished in 49.68, and Jordan Guske crossed the line in 49.85.
Guske, Davenport and Magee teamed up with fellow freshman Marshall Hill to take third in the 4x400m relay with a time of 3:17.81.
Junior Kyle Burns took fourth in the 600-yard run in 1:13.54.
UNI's next competition will be at the Panther Open in the UNI-Dome on Sat., Jan. 14.