Women third, men fourth at William Jewell track meet

Story by Jim Joyner, Sports Editor

The women’s track and field team finished third place and men in fourth place at the Gourley Open hosted by William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, on April 10-11. Both teams were competing within a mixed group of competition, varying from NCAA Division II to community colleges.

Five women’s athletes qualified for nationals with their performances this week. Senior Paige Rockers qualified in the women’s triple jump with a leap of 11.65 meters, finishing second, and was only .12 meters from a first-place finish. Rockers was named the Heart of America Athletic Conference’s Field Athlete of the Week.

Rockers also finished in third place in the javelin throw with a heave of 32.94 meters and was defeated only by freshman Riley Banik of Highland Community College and Baker teammate sophomore Jordan Miller. Miller’s final throw of 34.7 meters clinched the top spot for the Wildcats in the event.

Miller also finished in first place in the discus and seventh in the shot put and hammer throw. Sophomore Ashley Riniker was fourth best in the javelin, just .59 meters behind Rockers.

The other women to punch their tickets to nationals were the 4×100-meter relay team of seniors Diamond Griffith, Ty Sloan, junior Billi Pipes and sophomore Sara Mullins. The team finished its relay in 48.3 seconds, just three seconds less behind the winning team from Lincoln University.

On the men’s side, sophomore Tyson Robke won the men’s HAAC Track Athlete of the Week award for his performance in the men’s decathlon. Robke finished in second place overall with first-place finishes in the long jump and high jump. Robke finished in second place in the 100-meter dash and third in the 400-meter dash, the 110-meter hurdles and the shot put.

Robke’s fellow sophomores Mark Harman and Seth Ahart also hit qualifying marks in the decathlon, in sixth and fifth respectively. Ahart’s best result was a second-place finish in the pole vault and Harman finished third in the discus.

Both teams return to action this weekend at the Kansas Relays hosted by the University of Kansas in Lawrence. The meet begins on April 15 and continues all the way through April 18 at the new Rock Chalk Park.