Ashley Elder takes top honors in the shot put. (image credit: SNHU Penmen)

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Junior Ashley Elder (Bristol, Conn.) took top honors in the shot put, while sophomore Alanna Murphy (Nashua, N.H.) finished first in the triple jump on Saturday to lead the Southern New Hampshire University women’s track and field team to a third-place performance at the Panther Invite.

The Penmen totaled 120 points, which put them behind only fellow Northeast-10 Conference institution Franklin Pierce University and Eastern Connecticut State University, who compiled point totals of 146 and 141, respectively.

Elder slotted in the top two positions of the two events in which she competed in with a second-place showing in the weight throw to accompany her individual crown in the shot put. She dominated the shot put, as her heave the of 13.30 meters (43 feet, 7.75 inches) cleared the next closest finisher by more than a full meter and established a new personal best. In the weight throw, Elder turned in a toss of 14.17 meters (46 feet, 6 inches) to run her individual point total to 18 on the day.

Murphy tallied four top-five finishes in her individual events, as she added a second-place effort in the 60-meter hurdles, a third in the 200-meter dash and a fourth-place performance in the long jump to her first-place finish in the triple jump. In the triple jump, Murphy propelled herself a distance of 10.83 meters (35 feet, 6.5 inches) to finish 1.38 meters (4 feet, 6.5 inches) ahead of second and nearly two full meters in front of third. She picked up eight points in the 60-meter hurdles after crossing the finish line in 9.34 seconds, and her 200-meter dash time of 28.16 seconds secured six points for the Penmen. Murphy’s 4.95-meter (16 feet, 3 inches) showing in the long jump added five points to her individual scoring, which finished at 29 points.

The final Southern New Hampshire event victory, which also featured Murphy, and came in the 4×200-meter relay. The Penmen contingent of junior Danielle Humphreys (Hebron, Conn.), Murphy, junior Mary Claffey (Burlington, Conn.) and sophomore Megan Eugene (Everett, Mass.) completed the event in one minute, 54.24 seconds. The SNHU team’s time was more than two seconds faster than the next finisher, and pushed them nearly three seconds clear of third.

Sophomore Jill Couto (Newton Junction, N.H.) nabbed 16 points for the Penmen Saturday with a pair of second-place finishes. Couto clocked an official time of two minutes, 32.71 seconds in the 800-meter run to secure eight points, while classmate Jill Dieterich (Commack, N.Y.) checked in just behind her in 2:35.06 to tack on six additional points. Couto’s final event, the mile run, saw her cruise around the track in five minutes, 31.76 seconds. Dieterich zipped across the line in 5:39.50, good enough for fourth overall and five points, while freshman Maura Coakley (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) breezed through the event in 5:50.83 to finish eighth and grab a point for SNHU.

Southern New Hampshire also garnered second-place in two additional events, as Claffey and senior Maddie Bardier (Pembroke, N.H.) each registered eight points. Claffey cleared a height of 2.65 meters (8 feet, 8.25 inches) in the pole vault while Bardier traversed the 500-meter dash in one minute, 30.97 seconds.

Freshman Megan Decker (Durham, Conn.) and junior Ashley Dennis (Coventry, R.I.) posted top-five finishes in their respective events, as Decker finished fourth in the 400-meter dash and Dennis fifth in the 5000-meter run. Decker’s time of one minute, 5.45 seconds earned the Penmen five points, while Dennis’ time of 20 minutes, 29.45 seconds brought in four points.

Decker was also part of a Southern New Hampshire trio to point in the 60-meter dash, as she was joined by Eugene and Humphreys in the event. Eugene led the way in 8.59 seconds, which tallied three points and was the sixth-fastest time in the final. Decker was next in 8.69 seconds, good enough for two points, and Humphreys followed in 8.77 seconds for one point. Sophomore Madison Brand (Valhalla, N.Y.) rounded out the Penmen scoring with a seventh-place finish in the 3000-meter run with an official time of 11 minutes, 52.50 seconds for four points.

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