Tracksters have strong times and marks at Summit championships

Chris Mangan

Chris Mangan

The men’s and women’s track teams turned in strong performances while competing in their first Summit League Conference Championship on Feb. 29 thru March 1 in Sterling, Ill.

The women turned in a second place finish while the men were three points away from a fourth place finish. It was just what the coaches expected from the teams.

“We really thought heading into the meet that we could finish second on the women’s side and fourth on the men’s side. Our women did very well even if we weren’t firing all cylinders due to illness or injury. Fortunately, we had some folks step up for us and others that did a lot despite being a little nicked up,” Head Coach Rod DeHaven said. “On the men’s side, we were three points away from pulling off a big surprise. An unfortunate injury to distance runner Marshall Kambestad hurt us a bit, but again we had some kids step up.”

North Dakota State won the men’s and women’s competitions relatively easily.

“NDSU has facilities and a budget that every other team in the conference would love to have,” DeHaven said. “Their men’s and women’s programs have a full allotment of scholarships. The facilities, budget, tradition have kept the best kids in North Dakota in North Dakota.”

In the only meet that scores were kept, both sides had athletes step up to the challenge. Sophomore Jenny Mack was ranked seventh coming into the meet in the weight throw but won the event and set a school record, with a throw of 57 feet, 8.25 inches. Junior Cameryn Christion lowered her school record in the 60-meter dash to 7.63 seconds in the preliminaries; she eventually finished second in the event.

“She has worked very hard since the minute she has stepped on campus and has continued to get better each year,” DeHaven said of Christion. “It has been a treat to watch Cameryn run; she is a great athlete who has come along way from her days at Parker High School.”

Christion won the 200-meter dash while sophomores Brittany Garner and Heather Wollman placed fourth and fifth respectively. The Jacks also received a second place finish from distance medley team of Heidi Quail, Megan Lauseng, Stacy Huss and Ashley Storm, and Andrea Masters pitched in with a second place finish in the high jump.

On the men’s side, the Jacks received a strong performance from senior Nick Schanaman as he was one hundredth of a second away from winning the 60-meter hurdles; junior Andrew Duitsman finished third. Junior Cameron Johnson and junior Corey Beffert would turn in second and third place finishes in the long jump.

With the indoor season completed, both teams turn their attention to the outdoor season that will start on March 28 when they compete in the Missouri Relays. Expectations are high for the teams.

“NDSU will still win the men’s and women’s conference championships, but I expect that our women will beat the rest of the pack,” DeHaven said. “The men will be in a fight for that 3-4-5 placing. I would also expect that a few school records will tumble outdoors just as they did during the indoor season.”