By Allie Alexy and Justine Von Arb, Staff Writers
Senior Marshal Hawn praised his track teammates for running by themselves. It’s hard to run alone.
Hawn and his team won first against six opponents, and the women’s team placed second to division II Lewis University in the NAIA vs. NCAA Challenge.
The women’s team ended the meet with an exciting victory in the 4 x 400 meter relay of Laura D’Angelo, Taneka Lawson, Payton Kirkland and Kamaria Goedhart. The relay qualified at the “A” standard with a time of four minutes, 0.35 seconds.
Other women’s national qualifiers include Sarah Ray in the 5000 meters (18:03.96) and Amy Blucker in the shot put (45 – 9.25) and weight throw (55 – 3.75).
The men’s distance medley relay gave the meet an exciting start. Marshall Hawn, Alvin Best, David Powers and Caleb Drake finished first with a time of 10:15.9, eight seconds under the NAIA “A” qualifying standard. Hawn pulled into first place in the first leg of the relay.
Performances in the field were equally strong. Zach Gordon qualified at the A standard on his first jump with a jump of 23 – 8.25. Gordon, last year’s men’s indoor long jump NAIA champion, said that it “really means a lot [to be at Olivet], so I want to do the best I can.”
Other men’s national qualifiers include Brian Mitchell in the pole vault (15 – 9) and Jacob Armbrust in the shot put (53 – 8.5).
The teams have showed off their strengths from the start of their season.
The Tigers took second place in their first meet in the Karl Schlender Invitational at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater.
To add to their strong start, six athletes of the team made an historic achievment of 7 national qualifying marks in their first meet.
Blucker said, “I feel like I was happy to have qualified for nationals with a new indoor shot-put personal record, but I know I can do better in shotput and in the weight throw.”
This is Bluckers’ fifth time qualifying for the national meet, and said her goal is to become the national champion in as many events as she can. Other qualifiers include seniors Anna Sticker and Brian Mitchell, as well as juniors Jacob Armbrust, Chris Aschemann and Elisha DeRamus.
This year, the team has three new assistant coaches, chosen after a national online search through the NCAA. Nicole Farr is the new distance assistant coach and a recruiting coach as well as an assistant cross country coach. Mark Miller is the new assistant for sprints and hurdles. New assitant Alexandra Acker handles all jumps and assists in pole vault, the event in which she competed at the 2012 Olympic Trials.
According to Coach Mike McDowell training is slightly modified every year, depending on the type and quality of team they have that year.
McDowell said that the goals for this season are to repeat a winning conference and to qualify as many athletes for the national tournament. The team is going to see how many athletes can achieve all-american standing.
The tigers’ next home meet is on February 7.