Track and Field teams reaching new heights

The weather is not the only thing heating up in Kansas. Cowley’s Track and Field teams have been having athletes qualify for Nationals left and right. On March 31st Cowley hosted the Tiger Invite.

During the meet three school records were broken. Vondrell Harris, sophomore, broke two of them. Harris, who transferred to Cowley this year, broke the school records for both the High Jump and the Triple Jump with marks of 6-10 and 50-5 1/2.

“Breaking the record was a great feeling and something I will always remember. The first thing I said to myself was, if it wasn’t for God and the support of my teammates it couldn’t have been done. All I could feel was joy and happiness running through my body,” said Harris.

Kale Hamm, sophomore, owned the previous High Jump record at 6-9 which he set last year. Cory McCoy had held the previous Triple Jump record of 49-7. Harris’ jumps earned him first and second place and also qualified him for Nationals.

“It makes me very confident and more determined to continue excelling in my jumping. All I have to do now is keep God first and work hard and everything will fall into play! Nationals nationals nationals, I’ll be ready when they say ‘Vondrell Harris you’re up to jump.’ I always leave it on the track,” said Harris.

Sophomore Ray Quill also broke a school record in the team’s home meet. Quill finished with a time of 14.93 in the 110 meter hurdles and captured fourth place. Quill eclipsed the previous record by .31 seconds.

“The sad part about Ray’s indoor season was that he hurt his knee. He has worked his butt off all year. He broke some records but not by much, but we’re expecting him to run even faster from here on,” said Head Coach Mark Phillips.

Jory Custar, sophomore, excelled in the 800-meter run, placing first with a time of 1.53.98. Custar’s time also qualified him for nationals.

Custar was not the only runner to see success at the Tiger Invite. Runners, Dustin Mettler, sophomore., Josh Gracia, sophomore., and Phillip Banowetz, sophomore, all met national qualifying marks in the 5000-meter run. The trio placed first, fourth, and seventh, respectively.

Rounding out the events, the Tigers had two other male athletes qualify for Nationals. Sophomore, Isbeck Salinas qualified for the 3000-meter steeplechase after placing second with a time of 9:50.23. Michael McLeod, freshman, placed first in pole vault with a jump of 14-9 also earning him a spot at Nationals.

The women also experienced much success like the men. Five runners met national qualifying times while the team experienced success in all events. Marvia Lewin, sophomore, placed third in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:19.83 which met the qualifying time. Jessica Dyer, sophomore, also placed fourth in the event, roughly under 13 seconds behind Lewin with a time of 2:32.55.

The Tigers also had multiple qualifiers in the 5000-meter run and the 3000-meter steeplechase. In the 5000-meter run, Cecilia Burley, sophomore, clocked in at 18:25.70 earning her a first place finish and a spot at Nationals. Likewise, Purity Cheruiyot, sophomore, qualified with her third place finish time of 18:46.93.

Mirroring their teammates’ success, Cowley’s Valerie Bland, freshman, and Leigh Ann Omarkhail, freshman, both qualified in the 3000-meter steeplechase. Bland finished second with a time of 12:24.53, while Omarkhail clocked in just less than seven seconds later at 12:33.08 for a third place finish.

“They’re both freshman qualifying for Nationals, that really makes a statement as to what kind of athletes they are,” said Coach Mark Phillips.

Though they did not meet the national qualifying mark, other Cowley athletes experienced success at the Tiger Invite. Sophomore Kate Scott placed first in the high jump with a mark of 4-11, while fellow teammate Allison Hoover, freshman., finished second in the pole vault after clearing 9-4. The Tigers’ relay teams also finished well with the Cowley “A” team finishing third in the 4X100-meter relay and the Cowley “B” team placing fourth in the 4X400-meter relay.

Track and Field will next compete in the WSU KT Woodman Invitational on April 9 and 10. The team will be looking for more athletes to qualify for Nationals.

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