The regular season for indoor track and field is winding down as the team travels to Kansas State University on Saturday to compete in their final indoor track meet of the regular season. It will also be the competitors’ final chance to qualify for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics National Championships, which will be March 4-6 in Johnson City, Tenn. “It will be the last tune up for those who have already qualified,” said Jim Helmer, head men’s track coach. “We want to see our best indoor track meet of the season.”
The team made their third trip of the season to Norman, Okla. to compete at the Oklahoma Christian Indoor Invitational Feb. 13. Though there were few new names who qualified for Nationals, the Builders still made strides of improvement in their times and distances. “Just looking down through the lists of events we had a significant number of seasonal bests and personal bests,” said Mike Kirkland, head women’s track coach. “There is an emphasis to end this indoor season on a good note.”
Jimmy Bryant, business education senior, locked up an automatic bid to Nationals with a time of 2:31.86 in the 1000 meter run. His time also earned him third overall in the race out of 20 runners.
With a time of 1:41.13, Jordan Unruh, nursing junior, finished seventh in the 600 meter run. Her time, though, was just over a second off of a qualifying trip to Johnson City. “She is very close and we hope to get her qualified this week,” said Kirkland.
Paige Carswell, journalism junior, made history as she broke a 24-year-old school record in the long jump event. She hit a distance of 17-03.25 feet, which was also good enough to land her third place. Carswell also finished second in triple jump with a distance of 36-11.75 feet. The jump marked an automatic qualifier.
There were also a number of personal bests made at the meet. Jenniffer Hendrixson, nursing sophomore, and had a personal record in both the mile run with a time of 5:34.24 and in the 3000 meter run with a time of 11:20.28. Sydnee Nelson, biology freshman, and Taylor Kinnamon, business sophomore, also had personal bests in the 800 meter run, finishing with times of 2:36.98 and 2:37.13 respectively.
In the field events, Sarah Hardin, undeclared freshman, finished with a career best in both the weight throw and the shot put events. Hardin had a distance of 32-07.75 feet in weight throw, and 39-00.50 feet in shot put. Her shot put distance was just off of a qualification for Nationals. Caitlin Dyck, nursing junior, also had a personal best in weight throw as she threw a distance of 28-07.75.
The final week of practice before the Kansas State meet will be an intriguing one in the eyes of the coaches and competitors. “Weather will dictate a little bit whether we get in a good week of training,” said Kirkland. “This will be the last opportunity to get in an intense week of practice. With our young kids, we are still going to train pretty hard this week, but give some of them an opportunity to rest up and see if it correlates into a successful meet.”
“As long as you just keep going through a forward motion you are in good shape,” said Chandler Kirkhart, English sophomore. “It is about showing pride for you team, for your school and respect as well. If you have those things you will improve from week to week.”
The Kansas State meet will begin at 11 a.m. in Manhattan.