4×400 races into the record books

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With the MIAA Indoor Championship meet starting next weekend, Missouri Western track and field finished up their final meet at the appropriately named Nebraska Tune-Up in Lincoln, Nebraska, last weekend.

           With most of the athletes only competing in one event, preparing for next week appeared to be the main goal, but that did not stop the Griffons from going out and competing at a high level.

           The women’s 4×400 finished first place with a time of 3:50.72, destroying the school record by seven seconds. This team includes freshman Savannah Simmons, sophomore Hanna Williams, sophomore Morgan Doyle and Junior Symonne Holland. The 3:50.72 set a provisional mark, and the time is currently in the top 20 in all of Division II.

           While some are surprised by the time, Williams has been expecting this since the season began.

“No one thought we’d be able to do that, so we just went out there to show that we actually can,” Williams said. “Coach Litvinski told us to go out and try to run 3:54, and we just all felt like that’s not good enough. We went out there and showed we can run a 3:50, and we are going to run even faster.”

Assistant coach Cody Ingold thought the girls would compete, but even he was surprised by the fast time.

“The goal was 3:54 for the fast heat,” Ingold said. “I thought we’d run well, but we had some runners make times faster than they have before. Savannah ran three seconds faster than she ever had during her leg.”

           The 4×400 was not the only impressive time this weekend as freshman Dre’Shaun Sanders broke the school record in the 200m dash, again. This is the third time this year Sanders has broken his own record, finishing with a time of 22.10, good for seventh place. Sanders expects even bigger things going forward, putting up these times without practicing on a real track.

“It boosts my confidence a lot,” Sanders said. “Not having a track to work on, once outdoor season comes it’s going to be easier to drop my times. I have high expectations.”

Sanders cannot wait to compete in his first conference meet next week, and although he’s younger, he’s confident in his chances.

“I’m going against runners who are 20 plus years old, and I just turned 19 in December,” Sanders said. “My goal is to break my record again and set a stone for outdoor season. I expect to place top eight in conference and score our team points.”

           As Missouri Western left Lincoln, it was clear the focus was on next week. Still, the team left feeling good about themselves and what they can accomplish moving forward.

“It served its purpose,” Ingold said. “We were looking to get some fast times down and do a couple things to set us for the conference championship meet this weekend.”

The MIAA Indoor Conference Championship takes place in Maryville, Missouri, and starts this Friday, Feb. 22.