With only two weeks until the Great Lakes Valley Conference Championships, members of the University of Indianapolis men’s and women’s track and field teams traveled to Bellarmine University to compete in the Bellarmine Track and Field Classic.
Prior to the Ohio State meet, Director of Track and Field Scott Fangman said that only one person would be competing in the Jesse Owens Classic. Fangman also said that the other runners would be traveling to Bellarmine or resting.
For the men, redshirt sophomore Andrew Kittridge earned first in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.26, and sophomore Samuel Bokodi earned third in 15.59. Junior Quinntyn Qualls ran the 100-meter in 10.72 to earn third place. Senior Josh Bass reached 7.14 in the men’s long jump to earn first place. In the triple jump, freshman DeAndre Bluitt earned third place after jumping 13.84 meters. Junior Vincent Ziraldo’s 58.28 meters in the hammer throw put him in second place.
For the women at Bellarmine, senior Emily Thornton finished third in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:20.19. In the discus, junior Lissette Mendivil threw 51.24 for a first-place finish. Mendivil also earned third in the hammer throw with a toss of 47.55 meters. Sophomore Lindsey Foster jumped 5.26 meters in the long jump, which was good enough for a second-place finish.
On April 14-15, five distance runners traveled to California to compete in the Mt. SAC Relays. The group included sophomore Kieran Casey, senior Alex Cushman, senior Kameron Casey, junior Emily Odle and senior Joe Keller. At Mt. SAC, two of the five distance runners qualified for nationals: Cushman and Kieran. The rest of the runners created new personal records for themselves. Cushman and Kieran also broke school records and are currently among the top ten runners in the nation.
The same weekend, April 15-16, members of the men’s and women’s teams traveled to Indiana Wesleyan University to compete in the Indiana Intercollegiate meet.
The women won second overall at IWU with three first place finishes from senior Arianna Ware, Mendivil and junior Miranda Braun. Ware earned first in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:05:65. Braun earned first in discus with a distance of 12.84 meters. Mendivil earned first in the hammer event with a distance of 48.72 meters. Mendivil also earned fourth place in shot put with a distance of 12.74 meters and second place in discus with a distance of 41.88 meters. The Hounds secured another second-place finish in the 4×100 relay with the team of sophomore Virginia Westerfield, junior Melissa Rios, junior Chelsea Yeadon and junior Majaica Brooks and a time of 47.94.
The men received fifth overall at IWU with two first-place finishes from Ziraldo in the hammer event with a distance of 56.64 meters. Also earning a first-place finish was the 4×400 relay team with a time of 3:12:67. The team consisted of freshman Brian Sales, freshman Allen Wright, freshman Antwan Martin and Qualls. In long jump, Bass secured a second-place finish for the Hounds with a distance of 7.46 meters. Qualls earned third place in the 200-meter run with a time of 21.42.
Senior jumper Collin Craft thought the success of individuals was due to the nice weather.
“I know we had a lot of people PR [personal record] at the event, and I think a big reason for that, too, was it was the first track meet that we had great weather. It was about 80 degrees,” Craft said. “I think everyone was ready for the warm weather, and you know, with that being said, a lot of people performed well. Due to working hard in practice and getting through those two weeks with harsh weather and then the sunshine hits, everyone is performing well.”
Even though conference is still two weeks away, Fangman said they are already preparing.
“We are resting some of our Mt. Sac people because they came off a pretty hard race,” Fangman said. “We’re just preparing ourselves, finding out who will be best at what positions [and] in what events for conference. Everything is a conference prep right now.”
Before competing at the Bellarmine Classic, Fangman said the teams would be using the meet to help prepare for conference.
“I think we are going to do quite well [at Bellarmine]. We’ve got kids in different events that they have never done before, but this is the last week we do that,” Fangman said. “We usually have tried to get everybody in by now, to see if we can put them in the right spots, because we only get four per event [at conference].”
Craft said conference is the holy grail of meets for them. He said that the teams are working hard to prepare and just being safe.
“[We’re] taking extra precautions…you want to make sure you’re taking out all those chances of getting hurt, because conference is our big meet. Whatever it is, whether it’s diet after practice, rehab [or] still working hard at practice because you want to perform your best and peak at conference and score points.”
Fangman said they even have their conference lineup ready.
“I ask the coaches, ‘I want your conference teams now….’ So we actually have our conference lineup right now,” Fangman said. “Now we’re going to just simply do the polishing, and this is all set in the two weeks we rest them. [If] somebody is resting this weekend, they’re going to run next. But if they’re running this weekend, they’re not going to run next… It’s an Olympian mentality. It’s the nature of the sport. We gear up for one meet or two meets a year, that’s it, conference and nationals. Everything is a preliminary to that.”
Members of both teams will travel to compete in the Redhawk Invitational at Miami University or to the Annual Hillsdale College Gina Relays at Hillsdale College. Both meets will take place on April 29-30.