Indoor track athletes ready for nationals

Story by Levi Blaylock, Writer

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The men’s and women’s indoor track and field team will send six athletes to the 51st Annual Men’s and 36th Annual Women’s NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships in Johnson City, Tennessee, on March 3-5.

The four women’s athletes are Kendal Holloman (pole vault), Alex Garbarino (60-meter hurdles), Brenda McCollum (3000-meter race walk) and Caitlin Apollo (3000-meter race walk).

The two men’s athletes to compete at nationals for Baker are Tyson Robke (heptathlon) and Josh Peck (weight throw).

“The key to having success at nationals is not being intimidated by the big crowds and great athletes,” Robke said. “As long as you stick to doing what you have been successful with, you will be fine.”

The six athletes going have all been to either indoor or outdoor nationals before. This experience should help the Wildcats earn some All-American honors.

“It feels great to have another chance to compete at nationals,” Holloman said. “I’m excited to cheer on my teammates and to vault at a new place I have never competed at before.”

The indoor track and field nationals have not been held in Johnson City, Tennessee, since the 2010 season.

Baker is sending fewer athletes to nationals this year than past years. This is partially due to an ankle injury that senior Avery Parker suffered in the quarterfinals game of the 2015 football season. Parker had qualified for nationals five times in his career.

“I’d say the best part of nationals is getting to know some people on the team you usually wouldn’t get to know because the group is so much smaller,” Parker said. “Also seeing some of the best athletes in the NAIA perform is amazing to watch.”

Both Peck and McCollum have reached All-American status in the past. Robke barely missed the cut last year and has a great shot at All-American this year.

“I think experience has a lot to do with how you perform at nationals,” Parker said. “Hopefully they all come back All-Americans.”

Indoor track athletes ready for nationals