Track and Field qualifies six for Indoor Nationals

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The University of Indianapolis men’s and women’s track and field teams traveled to Kenosha, Wis., to participate in the Great Lakes Valley Conference Indoor Championship, Feb. 27-28.  The Greyhounds pulled out second-place finishes in both the men’s and women’s competitions.

Head Track and Field Coach Scott Fangman was pleased with the teams’ performances.  He said the second-place finishes were great accomplishments.

“They beat us … fair and square,”   Fangman said. “We have nothing to be ashamed of. You can look back now and say, ‘We got second in conference; what does that mean?’  Well, it means you beat 12 other teams. You went into that thing 0-0 and you walked out 12-1. That isn’t too bad.

“Our conference is pretty legit.  I’m not saying it’s a powerhouse in track, but it’s a pretty legit conference. We’ll have our fair share of All-Americans come out of our conference, usually.”

Beating out the Hounds for first place was Lewis University.  This is the third year in a row that the Flyers have won the indoor championship. Fangman said the Flyers’ are among the best in the nation.

“On the men’s side, it really came down to the last three events,” Fangman said. “Just to give you an idea, there are 17 events going on, and it came down to the last three. They [Lewis] beat us head-to-head in the 200[-meter]. [For] our 3000[-meter], we literally had to pull somebody out, because they got the flu over the weekend. They beat us head-to-head in the 4×4 … right now these relay teams [the Flyers] are the top … in the country.”

The Hounds finished the weekend with six first-places finishes. Sophomore Katie Monk won the women’s weight throw with 17.58 meters and shot put with 14.33 meters. For the men, junior Vincent Ziraldo won the weight throw with 17.95 meters, and junior Shaquelle Lewis earned first in shot put with 16.30 meters. Senior Josh Bass won the long jump with 6.99 meters.

Although the Hounds have faced challenges this season, Fangman said that the situations did not affect the teams’ performances.

“I think that everyone did exceptionally well under the circumstances,” he said. “I think that we honestly did finish as high as we could have.”

As the teams start transitioning from indoor to outdoor, Fangman said that he is expecting great things.

“We  normally get a little better outdoor than indoor, only because [of] the additional events,” Fangman said. “So we’re usually pretty decent for that. Two more throws are added, longer hurdle races are added, a 10000-meter race is added and then another relay.  Those usually play all into our favor.”

Junior Kylie Ballard said she is looking forward to the opportunity for the team to improve as the season continues.

“You can always improve,” she said. “For everyone, it’s trying to be the best athlete you can be, the best person you can be and the best student you can be. Overall, we’re trying to better ourselves as a whole, and I think we can do that for outdoors.”

Monk, sophomore Kieran Casey, junior Quinntyn Qualls, freshman Brian Sales, sophomore Antwan Martin and freshman Allen Wright all advanced  to the NCAA Divison II Indoor  Championship. The six qualifiers will travel to Pittsburgh, Kan., to compete in the NCAA Division II  Indoor  Championship, March 11-12.

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