The track and field teams took part in the “Nebraska Tune-Up” on Friday, Feb. 15.
Head Coach Russ Jewett believes the teams confidence “grew and that they had improved since the last competition.”
“Well we did get a little more momentum with some athletes going into the conference, a little confidence builder,” Jewett said.
Senior NaRon Rollins finished third overall in the 200 meters and won the 60 meters.
“It was great to see NaRon Rollins on the men’s side,” Jewett said. “He had not raced in a while (because) he had surgery in the fall. (He ran) pretty darn well in the 200 we were pleased with that and to come through the 60 meters, his first 60 since last winter, and he came through pretty fast…”
Freshman Konner Swenson recorded a personal best toss in the shot put.
“… (It was) not a big meet but a quality meet and (Konner) showed great poise in throwing his life time best in that kind of situation,” Jewett said. “Again, momentum going into the conference championship is a good thing.”
Senior Kai Miller tied for second place in the pole vault.
“(Kai) competed against the Division-I national champion,” Jewett said. “He did not beat him, but he vaulted some of his best stuff against that kind of competition, so you can’t ask for more than that. He has done a great job.”
The 4×400 meter relay team consisting of freshman Corben Pugh, freshman Nizar Alasahshun, junior Savion Cauveren, and senior Slade Nordic won first place.
“This was kind of a low-key meet for that relay, but I was just proud of our guys for competing well,” Jewett said. “(They) had really good handoffs and were very good competitors…”
Freshman Christine Williams scored a PR and picked up an NCAA qualifying mark in the 200 meters with her second-place win which was also the third-fastest indoor time in school history
“Christine Williams had a nice meet and positioned herself pretty well in the 200 meters,” Jewett said.
Junior Brianna Cooks won a personal best effort in the weight throw and placed second in the discipline with an NCAA-qualifying mark which was the second-best toss in school history
“… (Brianna Cooks) did great,” Jewett said. “(The weight throw) is an environment that is not the easiest in which to compete… She showed great poise and has really thrown consistently well all season… This is obviously her best in the weight throw. So, (I’m) really proud of her.”
Sophomore Haven Lander bested the automatic qualifying standard in the pole vault.
“Haven is another that has not had a bad competition,” Jewett said. “… She is really vaulting consistently very high… and she competed well, so that is a great sign.”
According to Jewett, the women’s main competition at the MIAA Indoor Championships will be Lincoln University and Southwest Baptist.
“Well, our mission is always to win those championships and we were able to do that last year,” Jewett said. “This is a whole new year (with) different teams. We have had lots of challenges like all teams do but we are focused on trying to win the thing… On the women’s side, you have got the best team in the conference without a doubt: Lincoln University, and Southwest Baptist is probably another possible favorite to win. I think we have a chance… We are the underdog and we will have to show up bigtime and perform.”
The men’s main contender will most likely be Central Missouri.
“…(On) the guys side, we were the slight favorite last year going in,” Jewett said. “We are definitely the underdog big time for Central Missouri this year. Central has a very strong team. They went out and got some really (great) athletes in short order, transfer athletes, etcetera and they are the team to beat right now… If we can take another big step forward in fitness with some of our guys this week, then we might be knocking on the door, but we will definitely have a battle on our hands with Central Missouri and Missouri Southern. Northwest Missouri is the host and they have a much-improved team over the last year, so it will be a dog fight.”
The MIAA Indoor Championships will take place in Maryville, Missouri from Friday, Feb. 22-Sunday, Feb. 24.