Track teams sweep Wildcat Open

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Track teams sweep Wildcat Open

Story by Lauren Bechard

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Other than qualifying for nationals, sophomore Avery Parker said this year’s main focus for the Baker University men’s and women’s outdoor track and field teams is persevering through illness and injuries.

“We want to hit those national marks, but the biggest problem we’ve had all year is staying healthy,” sophomore Avery Parker said.

Health didn’t seem to be an issue for the Wildcats on Saturday when each squad took first place on the comfort of its home track at Liston Stadium.

Both teams beat out McPherson College for the top spots. The men won with a score of 121.5 and the women racked up a whopping 202 points throughout the day.

The Wildcats had 16 individual first-place finishes, seven on the men’s side and nine from the women.

Parker leaped 14.42 meters to take first place in the triple jump, what he said is his favorite event.

“During indoor I was getting frustrated because I wasn’t doing so good in the triple jump,” Parker said. “It’s always good to defend my spot on my home field, though.”

Three women surpassed NAIA-A standards including junior Tyler Sloan, who swept the hurdles events and finished the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.53 seconds.

Sophomore Billi Pipes flew past her competition in the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.59 seconds, while senior Stephanie Nelson took care of business on the field with a 41.68-meter javelin throw.

Senior Megan Rosa agrees that injuries and illnesses have set the team back, but that won’t stop her team from peaking at conference.

The Wildcats are competing at the Heart of America Athletic Conference championship meet this weekend. The events began on Thursday and will continue until Saturday at Benedictine College in Atchison.

Rosa said her team set a goal to score 400 points at the 2013 HAAC championships. The women missed it by just three points, so they will try again this year.

“We also want to win as many events as possible,” Rosa said. “Hopefully everybody can score at least once to add to the morale and allow everyone to feel like they are a part of winning the title.”

Parker said in order to win the conference title, everyone needs to support each other and just “do what we usually do, dominate the HAAC.”

“For (the men), it will be close, but I think we can come out on top,” Parker said. “We’ll have a lot of fight heading into the meet so we can defend the title, and that will make a lot of people want to do their best.”

The BU women’s squad is looking to win the outdoor conference title for the third year in a row and Sloan suspects they will accomplish its goals with ease.

“We don’t need a miracle. We have a really good chance of winning,” Sloan said. “We just need to do what we usually do and have fun…It’s some people’s last meet, so we are going to end the season with a bang, enjoy ourselves, and bring home another HAAC championship.”