The William Jewell College (WJC) men’s and women’s track and field teams competed Feb. 6 and 7 at the Missouri Southern State University (MSSU) Lion Invitational in Joplin, Mo. In the meet with 14 team members, the Cardinals hit personal best marks in 17 different events. With the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) meet in two weeks, the teams are preparing to produce their best performances at Conference.
Head Coach Tom Eisenhauer was happy with the overall performance of both squads.
“It was a great meet. We had a great showing out of our distance runners,” Eisenhauer said.
For the women’s team, Re’yven Lawrence, first-year, finished 17th in the 60-meter dash with a time of 8.11 seconds. Jessica Goldsberry, junior, finished 15th in the 800-meter run. Elaina Barella, first-year, finished 18th and Dylan Zinser, first-year, finished 25th. In the 3000-meter run, Elizabeth Stevenson, first-year, finished in 14th, while Lainey Foltz, junior, and Liria Gutierrez, junior, finished in 21st and 29th, respectively.
For the men’s team, Trevor Nicks, sophomore, finished 17th in shot put with a throwing distance of 14.16 meters. Uriah Heady, junior, finished 32nd in the one-mile run. Isaac Mattis, sophomore, finished 20th in the pole vault with a height of 4.11 meters.
“[The] kids are progressing well. People are improving and moving up on not only their personal bests but we also have many students who have secured a spot on our top ten all-time lists we keep for the college,” Eisenhauer said.
Gutierrez has also noticed the progression the team has been able to make over the course of the year.
“We had a really strong cross country season so coming off that, we’ve been trying to maintain momentum going into this indoor season,” Gutierrez said. “You can see it in the team making [personal records] every single week. People are consistently getting better. This past weekend was really difficult because it was such a long and large meet, but I think everybody stepped up and did what they needed to do. It was really good having that many people there to be able to push us to go faster and race harder.”
Both teams will compete in the Missouri Collegiate Challenge in Columbia, Mo., Feb. 20 before the conference meet Feb. 28. The athletes will be looking to fine tune their performances to set them up for the conference championship.
Some athletes are close to making the NCAA Division II provisional mark in their events, which means they may be able to go to nationals. Blake Alexander, sophomore, has made the provisional mark in the 60-meter hurdles. Julia Parker, sophomore, is less than five centimeters from hitting the mark in the high jump. Gretchen Mayes, sophomore, is two centimeters away in the long jump and two-tenths of a second away in the 60-meter dash.
The teams will transition right into the spring track and field season after the indoor championships. They will look to use their preparation and performances to push them into a successful spring season. They will be looking to bring home as many medals as possible from the GLVC Indoor Championship Meet.
“Our goal for the women is we’d like to be in the top 5 and there are 12 teams that compete in the GLVC. On the men’s side we’d like to be 7th or better,” Eisenhauer said. “In doing so, we also like to have several individual event champions. They do award a gold medal, silver medal and bronze medal at the conference meet, so the more golds we bring home the better.”