“We didn’t keep our athletes here,” said Kirkland. “We didn’t micromanage day to day what they do. We have got about a six-week stretch that will take us right up to the conference championship and that will go by fast. By a little break in the routine and being away from the campus and the classroom, they get recharged and have a little bit more bounce in their step.”
Helmer thinks his athletes also handled the time away from practice well. “I used to worry about if they were doing their workouts over Spring Break, but now I don’t,” said Helmer. “I think it is time for everyone to have a break. A lot of teams went to track meets over Spring Break and they will wonder why their athletes wear out towards the end of the season.”
Southwestern’s next track meet is the Cowley County Invitational March 27 at Cowley College in Arkansas City.
“I am just looking to get a better time and for us to win the meet,” said DJ Adkism, sports management freshman. “There is supposed to be really good competition at Cowley.”
The Builders’ outdoor track season opened up March 11 as they hosted the Soutwestern Invitational. Due to the construction of Richard L. Jantz Stadium on campus, the meet was held at Cowley College.
Seven events were won by Builders—five women’s events and two men’s. Seven teams competed, including Coffeyville Community College, Oklahoma Wesleyan University and Dodge City Community College.
“I thought we did good overall for it being the first outdoor meet,” said Adkism. “The transition from indoor to outdoor was different because it was a different atmosphere.”
Anjaih Clemons, business junior, finished first out of eight competitors in the 400 meter dash. She ran a 1:00.13 after competing at the indoor national meet five days earlier in the 4×400 meter relay and the distance medley relay.
Jordan Unruh, nursing junior, also stayed sharp after competing at nationals as she grabbed the number one spot in the 800 meter run. Her time of 2:25.31 finished over seven seconds ahead of second place in the race.
With the outdoor season underway, track teams saw their first hurdling competition. Kari Roth, psychology senior, won the 400 meter low hurdles with a time of 1:06.89. She was the only Southwestern competitor in the hurdle event.
In the long jump event, Paige Carswell, journalism junior, continued her success as she finished in first place. Carswell broke a school record earlier this year in the indoor season and also competed at nationals. She had a distance of 16-6.50 feet.
In men’s track and field, Carrington Crum, elementary education sophomore, won the 3000 meter steeplechase with a time of 9:43.85. His time was 15 seconds faster than the runner up. Zack Conroy, business administration senior, finished third with a time of 10:16.34.
Alex Hutchins, business administration senior, picked up where he left off in the throwing events. He won the hammer throw with a distance of 49.51 meters. Hutchins has had a phenomenal senior year in indoor track as he broke a school record and competed at nationals in the 35# weight throw during the indoor season.
“The throwers had the biggest transition,” said Kirkland. “They have to get used to throwing elements such as the discus, javelin and hammer.”
“It was a good start for us overall. It had been close to three weeks a majority of our team competed,” said Helmer. “The ones that did compete at nationals were fatigued both physically and mentally. Even with the poor weather, I thought our performances were really good for the first outdoor meet.”