Three ’Cats honored by HAAC

Myan+Elrington+and+Erica+Esch%2C+seen+above+at+the+Baker+Relays%2C+helped+their+4x400-meter+relay+team+with+Gloria+Mares+and+Kiana+Turner+earn+a+PR+with+a+time+of+48.85+at+the+Kansas+Relays.+Image+by+Marilee+Neutel.
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Three ’Cats honored by HAAC

Myan Elrington and Erica Esch, seen above at the Baker Relays, helped their 4x400-meter relay team with Gloria Mares and Kiana Turner earn a PR with a time of 48.85 at the Kansas Relays. Image by Marilee Neutel.

Myan Elrington and Erica Esch, seen above at the Baker Relays, helped their 4x400-meter relay team with Gloria Mares and Kiana Turner earn a PR with a time of 48.85 at the Kansas Relays. Image by Marilee Neutel.

Marilee Neutel

Myan Elrington and Erica Esch, seen above at the Baker Relays, helped their 4x400-meter relay team with Gloria Mares and Kiana Turner earn a PR with a time of 48.85 at the Kansas Relays. Image by Marilee Neutel.

Marilee Neutel

Marilee Neutel

Myan Elrington and Erica Esch, seen above at the Baker Relays, helped their 4x400-meter relay team with Gloria Mares and Kiana Turner earn a PR with a time of 48.85 at the Kansas Relays. Image by Marilee Neutel.

Story by Sara

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The Baker University track and field team has fought its way to become a front-runner in the Heart of America Athletic Conference over the past few seasons.

The men’s and women’s teams upheld that status Monday when the Wildcats earned three HAAC Track and Field Athlete of the Week honors.

Junior Taylor Nall represented the men for his performance during the Baker Relays Saturday. Nall was the event champion in the 1,500-meter run, placed fifth in the 800-meter run and ran the lead leg of the 4×400-meter relay team that finished third.

Nall also posted personal records in both the 800 and 1,500-meter runs, all of which he did after being sidelined for a week.

“(This weekend) was really exciting because it kind of came out of nowhere,” Nall said. “I didn’t really do any training (before) because I’ve been out with a foot injury. So it was really exciting and really surprising that I ran that fast this weekend.”

Sophomore Stephanie Nelson and freshman Tyler Sloan were also named HAAC athletes of the week for their performances at the Baker Relays.

Nelson competed in four throwing events, claimed three top-five finishes and had two personal bests. She also posted a national-qualifying mark in the javelin with a 43.30-meter throw.

Sloan was an event champion in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.82, which was good for a national-qualifying mark and a personal record. She also helped lead the 4×100-meter relay team to a first-place finish.

“I think across the board we had a pretty good meet,” head coach Zach Kindler said. “We had close to 25 personal bests, so it was great to be able to see that in one meet.”

Overall, the ‘Cats had five event champions, including the men’s 4×800-meter relay, the women’s 4×100-meter relay, junior Jeremy Gathright in the triple jump, Sloan in the 100-meter hurdles and Nall in the 1,500-meter run.

The women’s team came away with a second-place finish, falling only behind the University of Kansas. The men’s team finished third behind Hutchison Community College and the University of Kansas.

Sophomore Hannah Moore said the Baker Relays are very important to the ’Cats because the team has only two home meets.

“I feel like it gives Baker students, as well as our parents, a chance to see what the track team is actually doing because I know the student body doesn’t really get a chance to come out and travel to our track meets to see how we perform,” Moore said.

The team will compete against several NCAA Division II schools starting at noon Saturday at the PSU Wendy’s Invitational in Pittsburg.

“It should be something where we are definitely going to be pressed and pushed in a lot of events, but I think that it’s going to bring out the best in our athletes,” Kindler said.