As the CCC Conference Meet nears, NCU will have a strong representation from our track and field athletes. With a solidified distance program that has been in place for years and fledging sprints, throws, and jump programs in their third year of expansion, the overall strength of NCU track and field continues to grow.
So far seven men have punched their tickets for conference. Chris Zirkle ran the 5,000 meters in 15:05.09 and 10,000 meters in a school record 31:34.37; Hunter Tyler also qualified for the 10,000 meters with a time of 33:31.24. Conner Convey ran a 10:21.61 Steeplechase; Micah Jury ran the 100 meter hurdles in 16:30.00 and 400 meter hurdles with a school record time of 56.77. Michael Andrews qualified for Pole Vault with 3.78 meters; Patrick Fritter will go to conference for javelin with a 48.19 meter throw. Victor Irechukwu qualified with a High Jump of 1.78 meters; and Javonte Byrd did as well with a 6.53 meter Long Jump.
Additionally, four have qualified for the national meet so far. T.J. Wright ran a school record 9:22.89 in the steeplechase; Garret Kraal also upped his school record in the 5,000 meters to 14:53.30. Also, Garth Gant qualified with a javelin throw and school record 56.73 meters, as well as Christian Hackney qualifying for the National Meet with a throw of 56.18 meters.
As a whole, the women have produced an impressive season, filled with both CCC and NAIA qualifications.
Currently there are ten women who have qualified for the conference meet. Natalie Kogutkiewicz ran the 10,000m in 42:00.89, and Anna Brooks clocked 18:50.05 in the 5,000m; Macie Gale’s 4:42.98 and Michelle Fletcher’s 4:50.68 1,500m times put them through as well. Sierra Brown ran a 2:19.27 and Emily Moon ran a 2:21.22 to qualify in the 800 meters. Shaneesa Applegate’s marks of 15.95 seconds in the 100 meter Hurdles, 10.60 meters in the Triple Jump, and 5.38 meter Long Jump were good enough for her to compete in all three events. Brianna Wood ran the 100 meter hurdles in 16.81 and 400 meter Hurdles in 1:08.65; and Myranda Johnson will be joining her in the hurdles with times of 17.28 and 1:12.60 in addition to the High Jump with 1.38 meters. Madeleine Nelson’s 4.75 meter Long Jump and 10.85 meter Triple Jump have qualified her for conference as well.
The NAIA qualifications have been piled high with seven women currently qualified for the national meet. Rosa Schmidt qualified by running 36:45.88 in the 10,000 as well as 17:31.19 in the 5,000 meters; Allyssa Harmon also completed the 5,000 meters in 17:30.25 for a national qualification; Sierra Brown now owns the school record of 4:33.85 in the 1,500m. Michelle Fletcher ran a 10:52.20 and Macie Gale ran 11:10.16 in the Steeplechase. and finally Madeleine Nelson threw the javelin 40.60 meters and Bailey Dell threw 47.01. Dell also currently holds the second furthest throw in the NAIA.
When asked to reflect on the track program, senior Patrick Fritter said, “Obviously we’re still in the process of getting our team to full strength since it’s only our third year with a complete program, but we’ve made pretty good progress so far. When I first joined the track team two years ago, we only had a few throwers, and I was the only javelin thrower with any previous experience. Now we have multiple javelin throwers qualifying for nationals, which is pretty cool. The distance program obviously has already set a pretty high standard, but we’re making good strides in our new areas. It’ll be exciting to see where we’re at in a few years.”
Several meets still remain for the Beacons before they compete at conference on May 13th, so we may yet see more male and female NCU athletes qualify. NCU track and field seems to be heading in a positive direction with a combination of experienced coaching staff; the established distance program; and budding roster of sprinters, jumpers and throwers that continue to grow in number and quality each year. The stock of NCU Track and Field should only continue to rise from its already respectable position.