Wildcats prepare for HAAC Championships

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On a typical day in May, head track and field coach Zach Kindler would say the defending conference champions would be well prepared for the Heart of America Athletic Conference Championships.

However, Mother Nature is predicted to make things interesting for the Wildcats as a mixture of rain and snow has found its way to Baldwin City.

“On a nice, warm day, I would say we would be ready to go, but it’s supposed to be a high of 39 (degrees) both days, so it’s going to be a very interesting conference track and field meet for all of us out there just because of the weather,” Kindler said Wednesday, when the meet was scheduled to be on Friday and Saturday.

As of Thursday, the HAAC championships had been postponed to Saturday and Sunday at Liston Stadium.

The Wildcats will host the HAAC Championships, but because of scheduling conflicts within the conference, Baker has no choice but to hold the meet this weekend.

“No matter how much snow, or rain or whatever else comes our way, we are stuck…” Kindler said. “As I told our kids (Tuesday) in our meeting, it’s going to be whoever is mentally the toughest is going to show up and compete.”

Despite these conditions, the Wildcats are confident they can capture two more conference banners.

“We are pretty excited about where we are sitting within the men’s and women’s side,” Kindler said. “But obviously we have the meet for a reason and everybody else is gearing up for this meet as well, too.”

The men’s team is looking for its fifth-straight track and field conference championship as it has the No. 1 seed in 11 events.

Senior Travis Miller said the team is confident, but also aware of the added stress that comes with the expectation of wining.

“It adds a lot of pressure,” Miller said. “We’re picked to win the conference, so anything shy of that would be a disappointment.”

The women’s team claimed 15 top seeds and will look for their fourth consecutive title.

Sophomore Kayla Hannam said the women’s team is also optimistic about its chance of repeating as conference champions and is looking forward to competing on its home track.

“I think it’s going to help us to our advantage because it’s our home, it’s where we practice every day, it’s what we are used to,” Hannam said. “So I think we are going to have a better comfortablity level of knowing that we are performing at a place that we are well aware of.”