Tamika Taylor, elementary education freshman, Jasmine Jackson, sophomore, and Erin Morton, elementary education freshman all take off as the gun fires for the 100 meter run at the Cowley Country track meet on March 29.  Photo by Allyssa Zentner, Collegian Photographer

Tamika Taylor, elementary education freshman, Jasmine Jackson, sophomore, and Erin Morton, elementary education freshman all take off as the gun fires for the 100 meter run at the Cowley Country track meet on March 29. Photo by Allyssa Zentner, Collegian Photographer

The first meet with multiple conference opponents is bearing down upon the track and field team as members travel to Friends University in Wichita Saturday.

“We are not going to spend a whole lot of time worrying about what everyone else is doing or the color of the jersey we are competing against,” said Mike Kirkland, head women’s track coach. “At this point in the year, it is the question that can we validate what we have done and continue to take steps forward.”

The meet will be the first of three invitational meets before the Kansas Relays begin April 15.

“It is always hard to judge the Friends meet,” said Carrington Crum, elementary education sophomore. “In the past few years it has been really windy, so you never know what to expect.”

For the second time of the outdoor season, the team traveled to Arkansas City— this time to compete at the Cowley College Invitational. The meet was originally scheduled to take place March 27, but was pushed to the 29 due to weather conditions.

“Everyone liked the fact that they had somewhat of a weekend off,” said Kirkland. “It was 70-some degrees and the sun was shining Monday. That certainly correlated into some good performances.”

Three individuals from Southwestern qualified for nationals during the meet.

Paige Carswell, journalism junior, continued her success in the jumping events as she hit an automatic qualification with a distance of 37-08.75 feet in the triple jump. She also had a seasonal best in the long jump with a distance of 17-06.00 feet. Carswell placed first in both events.

In the 400 meter hurdles, Kari Roth, psychology senior, hit a provisional qualification, running a 1:05.00. She finished second out of eight competitors in the race.

Trevor Noel, digital arts freshman earned a provisional qualification in the triple jump. His distance of 47-06.25 feet finished fifth out of 11 competitors. It was the first time Noel qualified in any event this track season.

There were also a number of great performances and close calls for qualifications.

“I think we were very successful in what we did,” said Briana Johnson, undeclared freshman. “Everybody did their part and our minds were in the right place.”

Though Johnson did not qualify, she did get two seasonal bests in the 100 and 200 meter dash as she ran a 13.29 and a 27.88 respectively.

Carrington Crum, elementary education sophomore, missed a provisional qualification by a second in the 3000 meter steeple chase. He ran a 9:41.49, winning the race by over eight seconds.

“I was on pace through the first mile and I thought I was easily going to get it, but the more you run by yourself, the harder it is,” said Crum. “It was hard to make up that second, but I was still pretty happy at the time knowing I am a month ahead of where I was (last year).”

In the men’s javelin throw, Alex Hutchins, business administration senior, threw for a distance of 180-02 feet. The distance earned him first place and beat out 12 other competitors.