The University of Indianapolis men’s and women’s track and field teams left the Little State Championships on Saturday, April 12, victorious on both sides. The men’s team claimed the win with a point total of 164, while the women easily won over its competition with 216.5 points.
Along with the victories, both teams posted a historic performance at the championships, claiming 20 NCAA marks and three new program records. The men claimed 12 of the provisional marks, while the women posted the three records, along with seven marks, including an automatic qualifying mark by senior Tatiana Zhuravleva in the discus.
During the weekend before, both the men’s and women’s teams competed April 4-5 in Louisville, Ky., where they achieved nine NCAA provisional marks and one automatic mark at the Bellarmine Invitational.
Graduate student Jermel Kindred ran a 400-meter hurdle race in 52.64 seconds for a first place finish and a provisional mark. In the hammer, senior TJ Lovejoy threw a distance of 59.71 meters and sophomore Vincent Ziraldo threw 54.45 meters, both earning marks. Sophomore Josh Bass achieved his mark in the long jump, jumping a total distance of 7.26 meters.
For the women’s team, junior LaTisha Martin earned first place and a mark in the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.57. In the 100-meter hurdles, junior Camille Edwards also claimed first place and a mark with a time of 14.20. Senior Abby Rotach tied the school pole vault record and achieved her mark with a height of 3.35 meters. In discus, Zhuravleva threw 53.01 meters, providing her with an automatic mark. She also earned a mark in shot put with a throw of 14.35 meters. Sophomore Lissette Mendivil threw a distance of 47.47 meters in discus for a mark, and junior Farin Hickman achieved first place and a mark with a toss of 52.16 meters in the hammer.
According to Hickman, focusing on achievements is something that helps her continue to earn provisional marks and improve every week.
“Throwing is a mental game. It’s all about staying focused and looking to improve at the next meet,” Hickman said. “We are taught to move on from a bad throw or meet and just stay focused on what we are capable of. If we focus on what is bad, we will keep practicing those bad habits. If we focus on the good, then the improvements start to show.”
While nine provisional marks at an invite may appear to be a large number, Head Track and Field Coach Scott Fangman said that it is a pretty average number for the teams. Despite some difficulties thus far in the season, Fangman said expectations for the teams are no different.
“Our expectations haven’t changed in the sense that they are no higher than they were, but they aren’t lower either. We always want to continue to see improvement, keep achieving provisional marks, get as many people to nationals as we possibly can and to place [inside the] top ten in the nation,” Fangman said. “We’re coming off of injuries and red shirts. This has been a strange year, so everyone has had to grow up, and life is taking its course on us. Both teams have adapted well to the difficulties. That’s the neat thing about a team. When one [person] falls, another person steps up.”
Despite the challenges, Hickman said that the team puts in extra work and time to make it past the outdoor conference championship.
“Compared to other seasons, the team is more united in wanting to compete. So we are practicing longer and lifting harder. We are starting to look past just winning conference and working to compete at a national level,” she said.
Following the Bellarmine Invitational, the only Greyhound to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor National Championships at the time was Zhuravleva, in both shot put and discus, after achieving automatic qualifying marks at the Oliver Nikoloff Invitational at the University of Cincinnati.
Fangman said that competing against Division I schools such as Cincinnati is beneficial for both teams and helps push them to excel individually.
“The chemistry department is not focused on the freshman; they are focused on the chemistry major, and that’s the kid who is taking those 400-level classes. I’ve got to get our track kids in 400-level classes, so that means we’re going to run against the Big Ten, the MAC, the Big East and the SEC. Those are the best of the best. You want a Ph.D. in track and field? You are going to get one there,” he said. “So then for those who are the 100-level kids, this is where they open their eyes and hope they do well in their heat. I think that is a fair analogy, and that is why we run at places like Cincinnati and Ohio State [University].”
Both teams will compete at the Jesse Owens Track Classic at Ohio State on Saturday, April 19, at a time to be determined.