The University of Minnesota Morris track and field program opened up its 2019 outdoor season with nine top-10 performances in school history at the St. John's Invitational Sunday, March 31, in Collegeville.

"We had less than ideal weather conditions (Sunday) with sub-40 temps and snow throughout nearly the entire meet, but we made the most of it," UMM head coach Jessica Devine said. "We ended up with a handful of (personal records) and nine top-10 performances. Having only been outside for about a week, the team was very happy with how the day turned out."

Trent Merkins took third in the men's shot put with the No. 2 mark in school history (48-2) and 10th in the hammer throw with a distance of 129-10. Also in the men's shot put, Alex Boyd placed seventh with a mark of 40-11.75, which is the No. 10 distance at UMM.

The Cougars set a pair of top-10 times in school history in the women's 3,000-meter run. In the women's 3,000-meter run, Katherine Novak posted a time of 10:51.89, which is the No. 2 best  in school history, to finish fifth, and Paige Stearns ran 11:42.87, which is the No. 8 best in school history, to place 11th.

Novak also finished runner-up in the women's 1,500-meter run with a time of 4:57.2. Kaitlyn Ladwig finished ninth (5:16.4) in the same event.

In the women's 100-meter hurdles, Emily Ciesynski took second with the No. 6 best time in school history (16.20) and Brooke Hogan placed third (16.80). Ciesynski also finished first in the women's 400-meter hurdles with a time of 65.64.

Jessica Bliese and Brennyn DePaulis finished back-to-back in the women's shot put, as Bliese took fourth (37-7.25) and DePaulis tied the No. 9 mark in school history (37-6.75) to finish fifth.

Bliese also posted the No. 10 mark in school history (140-4) to finish fourth in the women's hammer throw. Along with Bliese, Kari Didier placed eighth (124-10) and DePaulis took ninth (122-6).

Jenica Moes finished fifth in the women's discus throw with the No. 8 mark in school history (114-7) and Adrianna Bibeau took eighth (103-8).

The Cougars placed third and fourth in the women's 100-meter dash as Olivia Salzwedel ran 13.66 and Jenna Benson clocked in at 13.78. Moving up to the women's 200-meter dash, Salzwedel placed 11th with a time of 29.27.

The women's long jump saw Benson finish fifth with a leap of 15-6, which is the No. 9 mark in program history.  

Sophomore Justin Pearson posted a time of 11.56 to place second in the men's 100-meter dash.

Brennen Meyer recorded a pair of top-10 finishes as he finished eighth in the men's 400-meter dash with a time of 57.28 and ninth in the men's 200-meter dash with a time of 25.46.

Ryan Anderson clocked in at 4:12.60 to finish sixth in the men's 1,500-meter run. In the men's 5,000-meter run, Edmund Cease tallied a top-10 finish with his time of 17:07.90 to place ninth.

In the men's 110-meter hurdles, Cole Kvistero ran a time of 21.00 to place third.

Lukas Petersen took 11th in the men's discus throw with a distance of 120-2.

Sierra Walker finished fifth in the women's high jump (4-5) and 10th in the women's 800-meter run (2:58.10). In the men's 800-meter run, Jace Leabo finished fifth with a time of 2:21.22.

McKenna Vininski cleared a height of 8-2.75 to finish ninth in the women's pole vault.

The Cougars now head to the Hamline Invite on Saturday, April 6, in St. Paul.