By Taylor Forrest
Convergent Copy Editor
33. That’s the number of the entire SC track team. In comparison, one of our rival KCAC schools, Friends University, has 81 track members.
The Southwestern track team might be small in numbers, but it still packs a talented punch.
With just one indoor conference track meet left, the Builders have secured four Conference Championship titles, and seven individuals will be traveling to Johnson City, Tenn., to the NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championship meet. Although, several individuals and relays are still gunning to qualify for Nationals.
On the women’s side, Bailey Collier, athletic training junior, and Megan Milch, biology freshman, each qualified for Nationals in high jump, with jumps of 1.68M and 1.62M, respectively. Taylor Needham, biochemistry sophomore, has also led the Lady Builder track team by receiving qualifying marks, earning conference championship titles and shattering school records in the 600 yard run. Needham qualified for the 600 yard run with a time of 1:27:25, and is ranked second in the entire nation in this race.
The women’s 4×400 team also qualified for Nationals. The team includes Ashlee Wenrick, biochemistry senior, Taylor Needham, biochemistry sophomore, Allie Maffei, psychology senior, and Justine Vogele, athletic training freshman. Wenrick also qualified in the open 400 meter as well. Wenrick has competed at the national level her sophomore year, but she said that it still an honor and an exciting experience.
“It’s crazy, exciting and overwhelming,” said Wenrick. “There are so many people there, and some of them have the caliber to be good at a D1 level, so it’s just a crazy experience.”
On the men’s side Craig Lantz, computer science sophomore, and Seth Topham, biochemistry junior, each grabbed conference championship titles. Lantz earned the title in Shot Put with a throw of 14.00 meters, and Topham solidified his title with a time of 8.61 in the 60 Meter Hurdles.
Keegan Gregg, undeclared junior, also added to the men’s list of accomplishments by qualifying for Nationals with a time of 1:55:59 in the 800 meter race.
While earning championship titles and qualifying for Nationals is important to the Builder track team, they have also competed well across the board. The women finished second at the 2016 Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships. The men finished fourth at the Collegiate Conference. The indoor season also gears up the team to take on the outdoor season.
“The indoor season gives everyone competitive reps,” said Topham. “It also gives us the chance to polish up on our events before stepping on the big track for the outdoor season.”
The Builders will travel to Kansas State University Friday afternoon to wrap up in the indoor season and secure any last chances at qualifying in order to make it to Nationals in March.
Taylor Forrest is a sophomore majoring in communication. You may email her at email@example.com.