PELLA, Iowa (Ron and Joyce Schipper Stadium) -- Ashley Larva (Sr., Floodwood, Minn.) and Jessica Cagle (Jr., Grand Rapids, Minn.) led the Bemidji State University track and field team that captured three first-place finishes and set a pair of school records Saturday at the Central Open in Pella, Iowa.
The Beavers escaped the snow and ice of Northern Minnesota for sun and temperatures in the mid-50s in Central Iowa and the Beavers excelled outdoors in warmer weather.
For the first time this season, Larva posted a double victory earning top honors in two individual races, while aiding one of the Beavers' relay teams to an event title. Not only was she first to cross the finish line in the 100-meter hurdles, her time of 14.69 seconds shaved 0.14 from her own school record set last spring. In the 400-meter hurdles, she broke the tape in 1:05.26 to edge the field by nearly a second.
Larva also ran the third leg of BSU’s 4x100-meter relay team. The quartet of Tia Lindberg (Jr., Chisholm, Minn.), Sara Melom (Fr., Dawson, Minn.), Larva and Taylor Sautbine (Sr., Tamarack, Minn.) clocked a season-best time of 49.08 within 0.28 of the BSU standard in the event.
Cagle's best finish at the meet came in the shot put event, where she posted a throw of 43 feet, 10.5 inches to take third place. She also competed in the discus. Her best mark of 143-04 put her in fourth and provisionally qualified her for the NCAA Division II Championships. In addition, the heave shattered a 20-year-old BSU record set by Lori Leibham (142-11.75).
In the sprints, Sautbine continued a stellar senior season placing second in the 100-meter dash. Her time of 12.64 gave her a slight edge over teammate Melom, who crossed the line in third, stopping the clock at 12.97.
Rounding out Bemidji State’s top-four individual finishers was senior middle distance runner Tina Larson. The Morris, Minn. native clocked a time of 4:55.17 in the 1,500-meter event to place fourth.
Pending the weather and conditions, the Beavers will continue their outdoor season April 24 in Moorhead, Minn. The matinee Cobber Open is set for a 3 p.m. starting gun at Concordia College’s Jake Christiansen Stadium.
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Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).