Two days, two track meets and five wins for the Missouri Western track and field team over the weekend.
The weather was brutal again and cut the KT Woodman Classic in Wichita, Kansas short. What was originally a two-day meet became a one-day meet on Friday thanks to 30 mph wind and sub 40 degrees weather.
The Griffons still had a good showing Friday winning two events. Freshman Jordan Garr won the shotput with a throw of 50-10 ¾. Junior Mallory Vawter won her first outdoor field event of the year in the long jump with a jump of 18-6 ½. Other notables include senior Phil Thompson placing second in the triple jump (48-10) and freshman Kelsey Cox placed sixth in the steeplechase (12:30.50). It was the first time Cox had competed in the steeplechase this year and she was pleased with her results but not content.
“It was a cool first college experience for the steeple,” Cox said. “I didn’t run exactly how I wanted to. I need to keep practicing on going over hurdles, accelerating but I’d say it was a really good first steeplechase for me.”
The steeplechase is a unique event in track and has a lot of parts to it including hurdles and a water pit that athletes must go over. Cox touched on the challenges of competing in a race like that.
“That’s probably the most challenging, separates it from other races,” Cox said. “Once you go over the water you get out of rhythm and have to start back up again.”
Cox seemed to handle those challenges well in the steeplechase with her sixth-place finish.
Not satisfied with one day of competition, the track team looked elsewhere hoping someone would let them compete on Saturday. Having faced cancelations and poor weather all season long the athletes and coaches were becoming anxious.
William Jewell was hosting the Darrel Gourley Open and gladly let the Griffons in.
Missouri Western was able to win three events. Freshman Hanna Williams won the 400m again with a time of 58.58, giving her three straight weekends of winning the 400. Williams was not done though, as she also placed second in the 200m with a time of 25.01 and third in the 100m with a time of 12.35. Jordan Garr benefited from participating in two track meets as he won the shotput again, this time with a throw of 49-2. Freshman Graham Buresh had a nice weekend winning the 400m with a time of 50.11.
The weekend may have been unconventional, but coach Marc Bierbaum is proud of the continued resilience his team continues to show.
“The weathers off,” Bierbaum said. “It’s been hard on everyone, but we are getting through. We’ve been competing hard, practicing hard. It’s been a struggle with practice too and the weather.”
This is a first for the athletes too. Buresh has never seen it so cold so late and is hoping the weather cooperates soon.
“I don’t ever remember it being this bad,” Buresh said. “We are getting close to May now and still having to go inside to practice. Hopefully, the meets start to get warmer, so we can get faster.”
That may finally be the case as Western heads to Lawrence this weekend for the 91st edition of the Kansas Relays. Early indication is the weather will be in the 60’s for the meet. The Kansas Relays begins on April 18 and concludes on April 21.