By Clinton Dick
Staff reporter

Five meets in five weeks with no breaks stands in front of the track and field teams from now until the conference meet May 3rd and 4th at Sterling College. The men’s and women’s team travel to Emporia State University Saturday for the Emporia State Invitational.

“Last year, it was a big meet and we had lots of good competition, but the weather was horrible,” said Jim Helmer, head men’s track and field coach. “I just hope we have a nice day.”

Weather will not be the only thing on the team’s mind as the Emporia State Invitational is the first of a string of meets that run through the month of April.

“It is five weeks until the conference meet and it will go by really fast,” said Mike Kirkland, head women’s track coach. “Emporia comes at a good time. Competition level is going to increase and this will be a great opportunity to have some good performances.”

This past weekend the teams got back into rhythm after spring break by competing at two meets. The distance runners ran Friday evening at Friends University in Wichita, while the full team competed the next day at the Cowley College Invitational in Arkansas City.

“Friday night at Friends was beautiful conditions and nice to run in the evening when we didn’t have as much wind blowing,” said Helmer. “Fourteen out of the 22 performances were personal bests and several of the others that weren’t personal bests were really close.”

Several athletes narrowly missed the qualifying standard for nationals at Friends. Chris Copeland, psychology senior, won the men’s 800 meter run, but missed the provisional qualification by five tenths of a second. Colton McNinch, biology sophomore, finished second in the ment’s 5000 meter run and ran a personal best time. He also missed a provisional standard by sixth one hundredths of a second. The men’s 4×100 relay team came within two tenths of a second from a provisional qualification.

Saturday’s meet also saw good individual performances. Kevin Rodgers, physical performance senior, hit the provisional qualifying standard in the men’s long jump with a distance of 7.10 meters. He tied for second place in the event.

Rhea Rollins, physical performance junior, and Kerisha Broadus, athletic training freshman, both made improvements in the women’s long jump event. They took third and fourth place.

“Both of those jumps were career long jumps,” said Kirkland. “Rhea had not competed since indoor nationals. She is getting close to a national qualification in the long jump.”

Colton Siler, psychology senior, continued his successful senior campaign with a third place finish in the men’s 100 meter dash with a time of 10.88 seconds, and a third place finish in the men’s 200 meter dash with a time of 22.18 seconds. Siler also anchored the 4×100 meter relay team, which placed third with a time of 42.19 seconds.

Both the women’s 4×100 and 4×400 meter relay teams impressed. The 4×100 meter relay team, comprised of Broadus, Taylor Sisneros, biology sophomore, Rachel Busch, early childhood development freshman, and Christine Sheppard, chemistry sophomore, finished second with a time of 50.70 seconds.

“This was only the second time we had ran the 4×100,” said Kirkland.

Sheppard, Sisneros, Busch and Cori Hunt, business administration sophomore, placed fourth in the 4×400 meter relay race. They finished with a time of 4:11.90 minutes.

“Our 4×400 meter relay team ran four seconds faster than they did two weeks ago and that was after a pretty long, hot day,” said Kirkland. “Their strength is there, but we didn’t feel like we had a lot of leg speed, which some rest will help that.”

Alyssa Zentner, athletic training junior, got her first opportunity to compete in her best even, the javelin throw. She was runner up with a distance of 36.68 meters.

“She is farther along than she was last year,” said Kirkland. “She wasn’t here for the SC Invite and you don’t throw that event during indoor season.”

Mandy Bostwick, elementary education senior, also made strides in the throwing events, finishing eight in the hammer throw with a distance of 40.15 meters.

“(Bostwick) had a huge improvement on her hammer throw from a couple of weeks ago,” said Kirkland. “That is only about three feet off of her all time career best. That is a good position to be in this early in the outdoor season.”

Kirkland said that he appreciates the fact that his team managed themselves very well throughout the week and at the meets.

“We kept getting stronger as the day went on,” said Kirkland. “Even though it was a small meet, they approached it the right way. I think that gives us a little bit of momentum this week to go forward in the next couples of weeks.”

Clinton Dick is a junior majoring in convergent journalism. You may e-mail him at clinton.dick@sckans.edu.