By Clinton Dick
Staff reporter

After competing at one of the largest meets they will attend this season, the Southwestern track and field team will travel to Pittsburg State University for the Pittsburg Invitational. The meet takes place April 14.

“It will be quality, but maybe not as big of a meet as far as numbers,” said Mike Kirkland, head women’s track coach. “There will not be a lack of outstanding competition.”

The team is coming off from their largest meet of the outdoor season thus far. They participated in the Emporia State Relays Saturday. Teams such as Kansas, Kansas State and Northern Iowa were in the mix of competition at the meet.

“This was probably one of the bigger, tougher meets we will see all year,” said Kirkland. “It was loaded.”

After a rain delay early in the meet, the events got underway, leading to several standout performances by the Builders.

Rhea Rollins, physical performance junior, not only hit the automatic qualification standard for nationals in the women’s long jump, but also set a school record. Her distance was 5.68 meters, which was good enough to earn fourth out of 23 competitors in the event.

“This was a nice breakthrough for her,” said Kirkland. “She is healthy and being able to string together consecutive days as far as training.”

Jennifer Hendrixson, business administration senior, marked her career best time of 12.21.08 in the women’s 3000 meter steeple chase. She placed fifth out of 11 in the event.

Several women competitors showed improvement by setting their season best times at the meet. Mandy Bostwick, elementary education senior, had a season best distance in the women’s hammer throw with a distance of 40.29 meters. Kerisha Broadus, athletic training freshman, placed 11th in the women’s triple jump with a season best distance of 10.85 meters. Sydnee Nelson, biology junior, ran a season best time of 5:12.75 minutes in the women’s 1500 meter run.

On the men’s side, the men’s 4×800 meter relay team hit a provisional qualification for nationals with a time of 7:47.85 minutes. The time was 2.85 seconds off of an automatic qualification and earned the team first place in the race.

Colton McNinch, biology sophomore, placed third out of 18 in the men’s 5000 meter run. His final time was 15:11.41 minutes. McNinch also placed fifth out of 21 in the men’s 3000 meter steeplechase with a time of 9:42.22 minutes.

Kirkland said that the Builder athletes were well prepared for the competition at Emporia and responded accordingly.

“All in all, we had a good, solid day,” said Kirkland.

Clinton Dick is a junior majoring in convergent journalism. You may e-mail him at clinton.dick@sckans.edu.