(Neb)-Last Chance Weekend For CSC Track Hopefuls
By CON MARSHALL
Only one Chadron State College athlete has definitely nailed down a slot to compete at the NCAA Division II National Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Charlotte, N.C., at the end of this month. But this weekend six other Eagles will participate in “last chance” meets in an effort to improve their marks so they also can qualify for nationals.
Most of them are throwers who be going to Concordia in Seward on Friday and Nebraska-Kearney on Sunday. They’ll be seeking a favorable wind that can give them a career-best mark that will rank among the top 20 in their events when all similar meets across the country are completed.
Sunday is the deadline for qualifying.
The Eagles’ only automatic national qualifier so far is freshman Isaac Grimes in the long jump. His gold medal leap of 25 feet, 6 inches at the RMAC championships on April 27 did the trick. Previously, he’d been a quarter of an inch from the automatic designation. He’s now second on the national list. No. 1 is Charles Greaves of Texas A&M-Kingsville at 25-11.
The second day at the RMAC Meet, Grimes also won the triple jump by going a career-best and Chadron State record 49-8 ½, putting him 17th on the national list. Since NCAA II generally takes 20 athletes in each event at nationals, the chances seemed good that he’d also get to compete in both jumps in North Carolina.
But this past weekend, six triple jumpers at the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletics Association Meet hit or exceeded 49-9 ¼, a few from other conference meets also did well and Grimes is now 25thnationally.
Eighteen triple jumpers have gone at least 50 feet this season and that’s probably what Grimes will have to jump if he’s to regain a spot in the top 20. The national pacesetter is Jalen Morigan of Tiffin in Ohio at 52-5 ½
Another jumper, sophomore Javan Lanier, is also among the Eagles hoping to earn a national ticket this weekend. He went a career-best 24- ¾ in the long jump at the RMAC Meet to earn the silver medal. He’s 28th on the long jump list but only an inch away from 20th.
Lanier, who primarily focused on the short sprints this season, has long jumped just four times indoors or outdoors this season.
CSC coach Riley Northrup said Grimes plans to take about three long jumps at Concordia on Friday and three triple jumps in Kearney on Sunday. Lanier can long jump at both locations.
The throwers also will compete at both meets.
As things now stand, sophomore Ashton Hallsted is 18th on the discus list with her best of 157-6 and senior Ashlyn Hanson is 19th among the hammer throwers at 181-9. That means they’d be going to nationals if there were no more last chance meets. But that’s not the case and in order to solidify their spots, they’ll try to improve their marks this weekend.
The discus leader is Daisy Osakue of Angelo State at 195-11, while Destiny Coward of Southern Connecticut heads the hammer throwers at 217-3. Chadron State’s Mel Herl won the national hammer throw championship last spring at 214-4.
Hallsted also will be throwing the hammer this weekend. Her best of 179-0 that netted second place behind Hanson’s winning throw at the RMAC Championships is 25th nationally. A couple more feet could do the trick. Her career-best prior to her RMAC fling was 171-7.
Two hardworking men, both seniors, also will be trying to make the best of their “last chances.”
Conference champion Jesse Bleidt is 33rd on the hammer list at 185-7 and 41st on the discus chart at 163-9. Marcus Myers of Walsh University in Ohio has the best hammer heave of 220-4 and Richard Cervantes of Kingsville leads the discus at 192-8.
Blake Jacobs will be throwing the shot for the Eagles during the trip to Seward and Kearney. His season best of 52-3 ¾ netted the bronze medal at the RMAC Meet. He will need to hit at least 56-5 ¾ to make the top 20. Cervantes also is the DII shot put leader at 63-2 ¾.
While Northrup will be taking a half dozen Eagles east this weekend, distance coach Brian Medigovich will accompany sophomore Alyse Henry to Colorado Mines in Golden so she can run the steeplechase again.
Henry’s school-record time of 10:56.80 at the Bryan Clay Invitational in Azusa, Calif., in mid-April has her 31st in the event. She needs to improve that time by nearly nine seconds to put her in the nation’s top 20. The national leader is Western State freshman Aneta Konieczek at 10:01.69, also posted in California.
Konieczek won the steeplechase at the RMAC Meet in Golden two weeks ago in 10:46.11 while Henry’s sixth place mark was 11:24.11. High altitude makes a big difference in distance races.
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