Track teams seek HAAC titles

Story by Kyle Davis

Zach Kindler, Baker University head track and field coach, is excited about the opportunity for the men and women’s track teams to potentially win their first HAAC Championships titles since he has been the coach.

However, Kindler was not expected to be in Canton, Mo., Friday and Saturday to watch his teams compete. Instead, Kindler was at the hospital with his wife, waiting for the birth of his third child, which was expected Thursday.

While Kindler said this will be one of the most stressful weeks of his life, he also knows the ending to the week could be one of his best.

“Any time I can get blessed with a new daughter and possibly two conference championships, that would be a pretty darn good weekend,” Kindler said.

But before the Wildcats could think about the HAAC Championships, the teams competed in the Wildcat Open Saturday at Liston Stadium.

Several Wildcats earned different accolades at the meet.

The team added two more athletes to the list of national qualifiers in freshman Katelyn Wolken, javelin, and sophomore Travis Miller, high jump.

Senior Jason Robbs, sophomore Devin Freeman and freshman Stephanie Nelson were all named HAAC Athletes of the Week for their performances at the Wildcat Open.

Robbs won and broke the school record in the hammer throw and also won the discus event. Nelson won the javelin and shot put events, while Freeman won the 3,000-meter run.

Nelson is entering her first HAAC Tournament, and is confident in BU’s chances.

“As long as we stick together and go out and do what we’re supposed to do, I think it’ll work out fine,” Nelson said.

Sophomore Jeremiah Korn, shot put, sophomore JL Anderson, 110-meter hurdles, the men’s 4×100-meter relay team and the women’s 4×400-meter relay team were also among the Baker athletes to win their respective events at the Wildcat Open.

“We’ve got a lot of athletes on the team that put their best foot forward when it comes to practice or it comes to training, and that’s one thing to be proud of in itself,” Robbs said.

Kindler said the program’s philosophy focuses on the outdoor conference meet, and everything leading up to that point is preparation for this weekend.

“It’s going to be a fun meet to be associated with,” Kindler said. “And it’s going to be something that we can definitely, if everything goes right, come back home with two titles.”

Robbs has experience with large-atmosphere meets, winning a national championship twice at the junior college level.

Robbs said people can either perform really well or really poorly with the pressure on them, but he believes the teams are where they need to be at this point in the season.

“We’re going to get in there and real life is going to occur,” Robbs said, “but right now we’ve got pretty big confidence we’ve built on from earlier in the season and we’re at our peak right now.”