Posted 7 months ago
By John Axtell
About a dozen Chadron State College track and field athletes will be participating in “last chance” meets this weekend, one on Friday at Concordia University in Seward and the other Sunday at Colorado School of Mines in Golden.
Head coach Ryan Baily says assistant coach Jessica Horsley will take 7 throwers to the Concordia meet, with 5 others joining them Sunday in Golden.
Most are hoping to improve their marks to qualify for the NCAA Division II National Championships in two weeks in Pueblo, Colo., while 3 Eagles who’ve either clinched or are likely to clinch spots at nationals will use the competition to stay sharp.
The field for the national meet will be set early next week and Baily says “our athletes have worked so hard and done so well this year that they deserve another opportunity to qualify.”
Two Chadron State men have surpassed automatic qualifying marks for the meet: Cody Hunt in the shot put and Karl McFarlane in the 110 high hurdles. Both won Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference titles this week. Hunt…a multi-time All-American…is 3rd on the national list at 60 feet, 9.5 inches while McFarlane’s top time of 13.93 is 4th.
Women’s discus thrower Alyssa Norton, also an RMAC champion, is on only the provisional list, but she ranks 9th in the nation with a mark of 159-8 and is considered a virtually lock for a national berth since the field will be 20.
The remaining CSC athletes competing this weekend have marks that put them within striking distance of qualifying, but need to improve slightly to move into the top 20 in their respective events.
Headed to Concordia along with Hunt and Norton are Charith Kapukotuwa and Kyle McCarthy for the men and Mel Herl, Sadie Waugh and Cyndi Thomas for the women.
Baily says Kapakotuwa, in particular, is capable of getting a qualifying mark in the discus. His best throw this season is 161-2, but the junior from Sri Lanka has thrown close to 180 feet several times in practice…a distance would move him into the top 10 nationally. Kapakotuwa also has thrown the shot 54-7 ¼…just 10″ out of the top 20.
Joining them in Golden will be McFarlane…who will try to qualify in the triple jump as well…pole vaulters Kolten and Kaelie Jelden, long jumper Lanar Newman, and Gavan Archibald in the 400 hurdles. Archibald is 24th with an altitude-adjusted time of 52.98, but lowering that by just 1 second would move him into the top 10.
Newman needs to improve just 3″ to reach the top 20. Baily says his current 23-9 1/2 would have easily qualified a couple years ago, but that “Division II has added at least 60 schools in that period and it’s getting tougher and tougher to qualify all the time. ”