AKRON - Bowling Green sophomore track and field star Brooke Pleger broke her own school record in the hammer throw and climbed to No. 2 in the country in the event, tossing implement 219-feet-9 at the Northeast Ohio Invitational Friday night, hosted by Akron.
Pleger set Bowling Green's school record a week ago with a toss of 212-6 at the Raleigh Relays, the third-best throw in the country this year. But Friday night, she went more than seven feet further, passing UCLA's Ida Storm, who had a throw of 217-1 earlier this year, for second in the nation. Only Arizona State's Chelsea Cassulo has thrown further this year with a toss of 229-0.
"The impressive results Brooke posted has come from her extreme focus and dedication to the event," BGSU head coach Lou Snelling said. "Her blood, sweat and tears have gotten her to this point. She has completely bought into the training that Coach (Matt) Conly has laid out for her. We are beyond proud and excited about the opportunities this performance has opened up for Brooke."
The throw also met the USA Track and Field A Standard, meaning that Pleger has automatically qualified for the USA Track and Field Championships June 19-23 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Pleger needed all the distance she could muster to edge Akron's Brittany Funk at the meet. Funk entered the meet ranked No. 8 in the country but she tossed the hammer 216-9 to climb to fourth in the country.
Two other Falcons also set personal bests in the hammer throw on the first day of competition at the Northeast Ohio Invitational. Redshirt freshman Shana Flanary set a personal best with a toss of 163-7 while freshman Kayla Velasquez shattered her season-best with a throw of 156-11, more than 18 feet further than a week earlier.