Track teams set high standards with indoor titles

Story by Chad Mullens, Writer

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The men’s and women’s track teams have each won their fourth consecutive indoor Heart of America Athletic Conference titles and are sending eight athletes to the NAIA National Indoor Meet starting March 5.

Junior Dayshawn Berndt, who placed second in the 200-meter and 400-meter races as well as in the 4×400 meter relay at the HAAC championship meet, has been a part of a Baker team that has won every indoor and outdoor HAAC title since he has been a part of the program. He believes the continued success is a testament to the culture of the team.

“We’re basically a family,” Berndt said. “We’re always rooting for each other and it’s a lot of fun to see everybody do well.”

The HAAC championship meet, held in Lamoni, Iowa, was a breeding ground for success for the Wildcats. The women defeated second-place Benedictine College by 72.5 points, and the men more than doubled the point total of their second-place foe, outpacing Benedictine 238 to 117.5.

Baker athletes placed first in 17 events, and Billi Pipes won the women’s MVP honor with 36 individual points. Three Baker men were among a five-man co-MVP with 20 points each.

These were the second and third conference championships won under head coach Tim Byers, who also coached the men’s cross country team to a HAAC title last fall. This is Berndt’s first semester under Byers after spending last semester studying abroad.

“He’s a great guy and a great coach,” Berndt said. “There have been some things I’m getting used to, but that’s what you have to expect with a new coach, no matter who it is.”

The team has already switched gears to the outdoor season, where it hopes to maintain its well-established winning formula.

“It’s been going well,” Berndt said. “I think if we just keep working out and working hard and stay in shape we’ll be able to win the outdoor championship (this year).”

Competing in nationals on the women’s side will be seniors Ty Sloan, Paige Rockers, sophomore Kendall Holomann, and freshmen Brenda McCollum and Caitlin Apollo.

The three men joining those five will be sophomore Tyson Robke, junior Avery Parker and senior Josh Peck. The meet will take place in Geneva, Ohio, March 5-7.