Track and field teams concentrate on HAAC meet

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Athletes from the Baker University track and field teams continued their indoor season dominance Feb. 3-4 in Warrensburg, Mo., as they set two more school records.

Freshman Tyler Sloan ran away with first place in the women’s 400-meter dash and 60-meter hurdles. She also broke the school record in the hurdles and was named the Heart of America Athletic Conference Indoor Track Athlete of the Week for the second time this season.

“Tyler Sloan is really rocking right now,” head coach Zach Kindler said. “She is an amazing athlete that we knew coming in would be somebody that would do a lot of great things for us.”

Junior Taylor Nall also set a new Baker record in the men’s one-mile run with a time of 4:23.29.

Nall said setting the record was an exciting experience, but was also upset that he fell shy of hitting the national qualifying standard.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t qualify for nationals and that was the goal this weekend,” Nall said. “I actually missed it by .09 of a second. It was great to be able to set the school record, but it was also a disappointment.”

The women’s team started the success early for the Wildcats as a number of athletes finished within the top 10, including freshman Paige Rockers’ second-place finish in the triple jump, sophomore Ariella Harrison’s second-place finish in the pentathlon and sophomore Megan Rosa’s third-place finish in the 3,000-meter run.

Rosa was sidelined most of the 2011 cross country season due to an injury, but is excited to get back out and compete again.

“My first race, I went out way too fast in the 5K and didn’t exactly race smart, but this weekend my coaches both told me that I raced really smart and looked relaxed,” Rosa said. “It’s coming along really well considering I wasn’t actually training until mid-December, early January.”

The men also saw top 10 performances from freshman Greg Henning in the triple jump, junior Aaron Caldwell in the one-mile run, junior Eric Larson in the 800-meter run and freshman Jon Randle in the 400-meter dash.

While Kindler is impressed by the performances of his teams at the Mule Relays, he said both sides would depend not only on their top runners, but their depth, to help them win the Heart of America Athletic Conference championships.

“The most important aspect of our team is our depth,” Kindler said. “Our kids that are really going to be the heart of us getting those middle ground points.”

The ’Cats are leading all other HAAC teams on the conference performance list with 12 first place predictions and 94 top ten rankings across all events.

The HAAC Indoor Championships will be Feb. 17-18 in Lamoni, Iowa.