Weather, competition combine for poor finish for track teams

Story by Kris McDonald

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This weekend, the Baker University men’s and women’s track and field teams competed in the Heart of America Athletic Conference outdoor championships in Liberty, Mo., and came home with less than desirable finishes.

Horrendous weather conditions and possible late season fatigue affected the Wildcats’ chances, freshman Ari Penner said.

“Both teams had a rough go of it,” Penner said. “I’m pretty sure we finished in last place but we were 2 points out of seventh place. Overall, it was a disappointing weekend for the women’s team.”

The men’s team faired a little bit better finishing in fifth place, Penner said.

The highlight of the weekend came courtesy of sophomore Darin Redeker in the javelin throw.

Redeker won his second straight HAAC championship in the event with a toss of 166 feet 7 inches.

“It felt really good to win [the javelin throw] again,” Redeker said. “I was just out there trying to help my team any way I could.”

Redeker said this year was even better than last year’s championship because of the competition and the weather conditions he faced at the event.

“It was a horrible day to be out there, and I faced some great athletes in this event,” Redeker said. “The throws from everyone weren’t as far as you would expect at a conference meet but the weather played a big part in that.”

Redeker and his teammates faced good competition along with continuous rainfall and 20-mph winds for most of the weekend.

Sophomore Brent Randle said he has mixed emotions about his performance at the conference championships.

“I didn’t jump as well as I hoped, but I ran better than expected,” Randle said. “It was a little frustrating because I should have done better in the long jump and the triple jump.”

Though not overly excited about his personal performances, Randle felt the team competed well as a group.

“As a whole, the team worked hard and kept competing,” Randle said. “We were disappointed because we felt we could have finished higher, but we will just keep working to get better each and every week.”

Over the next few weekends, athletes from both the men’s and women’s teams will continue to work toward qualifying for the NAIA outdoor championships May 25 -27 in Fresno, Calif.

This weekend, the Baker track teams will visit Manhattan to compete in the Ward Haylett Invitational hosted by Kansas State University.