Indoor track aims for four-peat

Story by Jim Joyner, Sports Editor

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Baker men’s and women’s indoor track and field are in the middle of pursuing their fourth-straight conference championships in 2015, all three of those under the late Zach Kindler. This will be head coach Tim Byers’ first season with indoor and outdoor track and field after being the named the Heart of America Athletic Conference Coach of the Year for cross country in the fall.

First meet

In the team’s first meet of the indoor season on Dec. 12 at the Kansas State University Multi Event Meet, sophomore Tyson Robke finished in second place out of eight participants in the men’s pentathlon. Robke was also named the Heart of America Athletic Conference Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week.

“He took second, which was awesome because we were competing against Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and UMKC — all division one schools,” Byers said. “So that was pretty awesome for him to take second place behind some really good division one athletes.”

Robke won the long jump leg of the pentathlon with a leap of 6.53 meters. Sophomores Seth Ahart and Mark Harmon also competed in the pentathlon as well at Kansas State, with Harman finishing fifth and Ahart in sixth.

Second meet

The team’s second meet of the season was the Ward Haylett Invite at Doane College in Crete, Nebraska.

Senior Ty Sloan went automatic in the 60-meter hurdles, which means she is automatically qualified for the national meet already.

“She won the event and she set the meet record as well,” Byers said. “That was pretty exciting.”

The indoor track slate runs slightly different than the outdoor season; in indoor, athletes run in races of 60, 200, 400, 600, 800, and 1,000, and 1,600-meters as well as a 5K.


The Wildcats brought in many first place finishers in the team’s third meet of the season at Johnson County Community College on Jan. 16

For the women senior Kayla Hannam won the long jump and triple jump. Senior Ty Sloan ran the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 9:01 and finished in first. Freshman Sarah Hollis ran the mile in a meet best 5:37. Sophomore Kendal Holloman won the women’s pole vault with a vault of 3.2 meters.

For the men sophomore Birdsong Warren and junior Avery Parker competed in the triple jump. Warren leaped 13.88-meters and Parker was right behind him at 13.74 meters. The two finished in first and second, respectively.

Another men’s duo finished first and second in the weight throw. Senior Josh Peck won first place with throw of 15.59 meters and sophomore Jesse Austin at 14.5 meters.

Senior David Gregory competed in the 400-meter dash and finished in first place at 52.18 seconds. Sophomore Jamie Steury finished in first place in the mile at 4:38.

Concordia Meet

The Wildcats once again had a strong meet at Concordia College in Seward, Nebraska on Jan. 30-31.

Sloan once again finished in first place in the 60-meter at 8.85 seconds, which tied the Concordia record. Sloan and junior Billi Pipes both ran in the 200-meter finishing third and fifth, respectively. Sloan crossed the finish line in 26.32 seconds and Pipes at 26.44.

Sloan claimed two straight HAAC Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week awards before Holloman’s big weekend gave her the same honor.

Holloman hit the NAIA standard in the pole vault at 3.48 meters and qualified for nationals. Holloman finished in fourth place but was good enough for the conference’s athlete of the week award.

Steury ran in the 3000-meter and finished in third with a time of 9:07.

Season outlook

This Friday and Saturday both men’s and women’s teams will participate in the Missouri Southern State University Lion Invite in Joplin, Missouri. This is the team’s sxith meet of the indoor season.

Byers also noted some Baker athletes to be on the lookout for the rest of the indoor season.

On the women’s side he said that freshman Morgan Lober will be running in the 400-meter. Last year’s national qualifier in the triple jump Hannam will be participating in the high jump. Hannam broke her own school record in the triple jump last season at the Heart of America Athletic Conference meet with a mark of 11.45 meters.

On the men’s side senior Greg Henning will be competing in the long jump, sophomore Ben Carpenter will compete in the pole vault, and that cross country runners sophomore Carter Breithaupt will run in the 800-meter and senior Vinny Tadokoro will run in the 1,000-meter.

Byers also noted that both team’s four-by-four teams are running well.

For Byers and his two teams, it will be good to get back into the rhythm of practicing and competing on a regular basis.

“We’re just kind of looking forward to everyone getting another meet underneath their belts,” Byers said.

Baker doesn’t have an indoor track facility like some other schools in the HAAC, but the team does have the Collins Center with a small track around the basketball court with 90 degree turns. The closer the team gets to spring, the more it will be able to get outdoors to practice full turns and other sprints for the indoor meets.

“Weather is already starting to get nicer so we will be getting outdoors, so that will take care of itself,” Byers said.

The HAAC Indoor Championships will be hosted at Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa on Feb. 20-21. Both Baker teams are going for their fourth-straight conference title and coach Byers is going for his first indoor title.