Track and Field prepare for nationals

The Eagles prepare to compete in the NAIA Outdoor National Championships.

The+womens+track+and+field+team+members+pose+with+their+first+place+plaque+after+the+completion+of+the+GSAC+championships+last+weekend.+This+is+the+second+year+in+a+row+that+the+women+have+earned+the+top+spot+at+GSAC.+%7C+Courtesy+of+Jonathan+Zimmerman

The women’s track and field team members pose with their first place plaque after the completion of the GSAC championships last weekend. This is the second year in a row that the women have earned the top spot at GSAC. | Courtesy of Jonathan Zimmerman

Laurie Bullock, Writer

The women's track and field team members pose with their first place plaque after the completion of the GSAC championships earlier this season. This is the second year in a row that the women have earned the top spot at GSAC. | Courtesy of Jonathan Zimmerman [file photo]

 

From the half marathon to the 100 meter sprint, the track and field team will compete in a wide array of events in the NAIA Outdoor National Championships.

HIGH PERFORMANCE LEVELS

Since most of the competitors have attended the Outdoor National tournament before, they know what to expect and how to best prepare. All nine competitors qualified for nationals in the “A” ranking.

“The Outdoor National championship is very hard to get to, they only want the cream of the crop to get there and so the standards are very hard,” said head coach Jonathan Zimmerman.” Just to meet the standard to go is an accomplishment. Your performance level must be very high to get there and then the level of competition at the meet is very high.”

Junior Kevin Horchler qualified for the 3,000 meter steeplechase in the Golden State Athletic Conference championship meet with a time of 9:13.37. This will be Horchler’s second time competing in the outdoor nationals meet. The past experience has helped prepare him for this year.

“As a freshman I went into the race thinking I had to prove myself,” Horchler said. “There is a lot more maturity now, and I know that I just need to stay relaxed and know that I can run the time to get into the finals.”

Senior Danny Ledesma will join Horchler to represent the men’s team at nationals. Ledesma finished the half marathon with a time of 1:10:49.10 to qualify.

“We’ve been keeping each other accountable and making sure we are motivated to do everything that we need to do,” Horchler said. “It can be hard when you don’t have everyone else on the team with you, and it’s nice to have someone there to help push you and motivate you.”

PREPARING FOR THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

Shortly after winning their second GSAC championship in a row, six competitors for the women’s team are preparing for the national championship meet.
Sophomore Kate Smiley qualified for the 100 meter race in the GSAC championship along with Horchler.

The pole vaulting duo, senior Taylor McCahon and sophomore Nicole Falkenstein, made the national qualification height in different meets. The two consistently take top finishes in all of their meets.

Other qualifiers for the women include Alexandra Sciarra in both the 400 meter hurdles and the 800 meter race. Freshman Lyndee Dawson will compete in the 3,000 meter steeplechase after qualifying at the Point Loma Invitational meet.

At the Redlands Invitational, Dawson, Sciarra, and sophomores Anika Gasner and Brooke Arvidson ran a combined time of 9:16.16 to qualify for the 4×800 meter relay.

EAGLES EXCEL IN ALL AREAS

The Eagles do not only excel in their events, but also in academics. Of the 37 GSAC scholar athletes in spring sports, 19 of the athletes are on the track team. The track and field team alone has more athletes represented on the scholar list than every other school in the conference.

“They do a good job of staying focused on both their studies and the competition,” Zimmerman said. “We want to represent the university well.”

The Eagles will fly across the country to Gulf Shores, AL. to compete in the nationals tournament May 22-24.

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