By Clinton Dick
One year after the 50th anniversary celebration of the Southwestern College Relays, the stage is set for another big meet.
“It is a home meet and there is nothing like competing at home,” said Jim Helmer, head men’s track coach. “There are already 10 teams signed up to come and our entry deadline is Wednesday.”
The SC Relays will take place Saturday at Richard L. Jantz Stadium. The meet comes one week before the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships May 3 and 4 in Sterling.
“We are going to set the table for the conference meet this next week,” said Mike Kirkland, head women’s track coach. “There won’t be any lack of competition.”
Competition is exactly what the men’s two-mile relay team saw Saturday morning at the Kansas University Relays in Lawrence. The team, comprised of Frank Adelman, biology junior, Chris Copeland, psychology senior, Sam McDaniel, business administration sophomore, and Darnell Pittman, business administration senior, locked up fourth place and improved to an automatic qualifying time for nationals. Their time was 7:47.59 minutes, which is the fifth fastest in school history for the event.
“We were just excited about that,” said Helmer. “At one point after Chris’s hand off we were in the lead ahead of Wichita State, KU and a lot of other Division-1 schools.”
The automatic qualification also frees up more spots for other national qualifications. The two-mile relay team originally had a provisional qualification and teams can only take three provisional qualifications to the national meet.
The only other national qualifier in the past week was Colton Siler, psychology senior, who ran a 10.74 second time in the men’s 100 meter dash Wednesday at the Coffeyville Invitational. The time was Siler’s fastest of the season and good enough to earn him a provisional qualification.
“We changed a little bit with his technique,” said Kirkland. “We went to the Coffeyville meet to apply it and he felt great.”
Coffeyville also saw good performances from Christine Sheppard, chemistry sophomore, and Morgan Workman, mathematics freshman. Sheppard finished first in the women’s 100 meter dash with a career best time of 12.32 seconds and second in the 200 meter dash with a time of 26.55 seconds. Workman had a career best time of 16.63 seconds in the women’s 100 meter hurdles, which earned her second place.
Allyssa Zentner, athletic training junior, earned a first place finish in the women’s javelin event. She threw a distance of 120-5 feet.
“Zentner has been pretty consistent in the javelin,” said Kirkland. “We have a few more opportunities to really nail a big throw.”
Distance runners and relay teams were the highlights from the Kansas University Relays, which took place Thursday through Saturday.
The men’s 4×400 meter relay team tied for eighth place out of 26 schools with a time of 3:17.91 minutes. The team was comprised of Pittman, Copeland, Brandyn Willard, physical education sophomore, and Kevin Rodgers, physical performance senior.
“They ran outstanding,” said Helmer. “We tied for eighth and they take eight to the finals. I’m not sure how they broke the tie, but we didn’t get into the finals. We were battling with Nebraska down to the wire. It was fun mixing it up with them.”
Middle distance and distance runner both saw success in Lawrence. Six out of seven Southwestern runners had personal best times in the men’s 1500 meter run. Frank Adelman finished with the best time amongst that group and placed 10th out of 71 runners in the race. His time was 3:58.56 minutes.
“He had a huge personal best,” said Helmer. “Frank’s run was outstanding.”
Helmer hopes to put the finishing touches on the team’s preparation this upcoming week. This will be the first time in two weeks the entire track and field team will be together for a meet.
“We need to get everybody competing again,” said Helmer. “We are drawing to the end of the cycle and we just need to get everybody out there and have a total team effort.”
Clinton Dick is a junior majoring in convergent journalism. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.