By Jacob Jimmerson
Staff reporter 

Bailey Collier, sophomore, clears the hurdles during her heat. (Kylie Stamper/Collegian Photographer)

Bailey Collier, sophomore, clears the hurdles during her heat. (Kylie Stamper/Collegian Photographer)

Excitement is buzzing around the Builder track teams as they both had an extremely successful first outdoor meet. On the women’s side there was a total of four events that qualified for nationals. The 4×1 relay team, 400 meter hurdles, long jump and triple jump.

It was a home meet for the Builders in their annual Southwestern Invitational meet. It was the perfect spring day for the meet as well, as the sun was out and was a nice 70 degree temperature outside.

Sophomore Kayla Wilson was a part of three of these. She easily qualified in the long and triple jump events and was also part of the relay team. Wilson was excited to move forward after the good start to the outdoor season. She said, “I need to get healthy and recover from this ankle injury that has been bothering me. Then I just need to get back to training hard to accomplish my goals.”

Wilson elaborated on her goals as well. She said, “I want to continue to set PR’s (Personal Records) and continue to set new school records as well. I also want to win the national championship in triple and long jump. I also want us to win the KCAC championship as a team.”

Wilson set a PR and a school record in the long jump with a jump of 5.92 meters. It was also a national qualifying mark. In the triple jump she had a national qualifying mark of 11.62 meters. “I need to get better at understanding my phases, so that I can get where I want to be with this event. Which is being the best in the nation at this level,” said Wilson.

The 4×1 team also qualified for nationals as well with a time of 47.81 seconds. The relay team consisted of freshman Taylor Needham, junior Ashlee Wenrick, sophomore Christina Myer and sophomore Kayla Wilson. Head track and field coach, Mike Kirkland was pleasantly surprised of the 4×1 performance. He said, “I didn’t expect them to do this well this quickly. We only had two days to practice these hand-offs and I was unsure how the first meet would go for them. It was a pleasant surprise.”

Also qualifying for nationals was freshman Taylor Needham in the 400 meter hurdles event. She said, “I was a bit nervous, because in high school it was only a 300 meter race, but I was able to go out there and put in a good performance. I hope that I can get better and improve on my time so that I can be competitive at nationals and just give it my all.”

As a team the women’s took fourth place and were the highest of all the KCAC teams.

The men’s side had some notable performances as well with a few people placing in the top three. Freshman Jersey Boydstun got third in the 10,000 meter race with a time of 34:35.39 minutes. Freshman Garett Britton took third place in the 400 meter hurdles with a time of 55.71 seconds. There were several other Builders that were within striking distance of medaling.

Freshman Garett Britton had a busy day for his first collegiate outdoor track meet. He ran in the 400 meter hurdles which he finished third in, the 110 meter hurdles where he finished sixth and then in the 4×4 relay team as well. He said, “It was just a great day outside to go running. The sun gave me a lot of energy and I really had a great experience. I just can’t wait to keep improving and try to get my times better.”

Britton has some high goals as a freshman also. “I want to qualify for nationals in at least one event this year and I want to eventually win a national championship as well. I know that I just need to keep listening to coach and trust in God and if I do that these goals will become more achievable,” said Britton.

Coach Kirkland was happy with the way his team competed, but knew they had to keep the momentum going. He said, “We got spring break coming up and it is extremely important for all of our athletes to continue working on what they need to over this break. It is not the time to relax, because we have worked too hard in the off-season to just take 10 days off. We need to ride the momentum of this first meet.”

The Builder’s next meet is March 27th and 28th at Friends University. He hopes to bring a solid performance there. He said, “It is going to be important that we do not falter in that meet, because it is after break. We do not need to take a step backwards after this great first meet. We need to go out there and take a big step forward after everyone hopefully works hard over this 10 day break.”

Jacob Jimmerson is a sophomore majoring in communication. You may email him at jacob.jimmerson@sckans.edu.

If you want to see all of the results from the meet CLICK HERE