Track teams open season despite rain delay

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Track teams open season despite rain delay

Story by Sara

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Unpredictable weather has caused a slow start to the Baker University outdoor track and field season. However, a mixture of rain and lighting would not keep the Wildcats from competing Saturday in Pittsburg.

A three-hour rain delay during the Wendy’s Pittsburg State University Invitational caused events to carry over late into the night, but this did not faze the team as it claimed five top-two finishes.

Senior Aaron Caldwell won the 5,000-meter run with a time of 15:01.85.

Fellow senior Jeremy Gathright grabbed a pair of second-place finishes in the 400-meter dash and the triple jump. He earned a mark of 13.59 meters in the triple jump, and his time of 47.80 seconds in the 400-meter dash landed him ahead of 35 other runners. The time also surpassed the national A standard, which gives Gathright a bid to the NAIA Outdoor National Championships.

The men’s 4×400-meter relay team of Gathright, freshman DayShawn Berndt, senior Kellen Kristoffersen and freshman Avery Parker also finished second with a time of 3:20.42.

The women’s 4×400-meter relay team had a similar story as freshman Khadijah Lane, sophomore Tyler Sloan and juniors Jamie Patnode and Jenna Stanbrough combined for a second-place finish with a time of 4:00.11.

Sloan also finished third in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.31 seconds, which qualifies her for her second-straight appearance in the outdoor national championships.

Junior and defending national champion Stephanie Nelson fell just out of the top two with a third-place finish in the javelin throw. Her mark of 44.48 meters finished behind NCAA throwers from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Central Missouri. The throw exceeded A standard as well, which gives her the opportunity to compete for back-to-back national titles.

Junior Katelyn Wolken also broke B standard in the javelin with a 39.80-meter throw.

The Wildcats will back in action Saturday as they head to Fayette, Mo., for the Central Methodist Invitational.