Bad weather hurts track results

04/25/08

With names like Maurice Green and Justin Gatlin having graced the University of Kansas' Memorial Stadium track with their presence in past years, one could assume this year's esteemed Kansas Relays would not disappoint.

Had it not been for the steady downpour all day April 17, they would have been right.

The 81st annual Kansas Relays featured a quality assortment of high school, college and unaffiliated track and field athletes.

Baker was well represented, as 18 'Cat athletes made the 20-minute trek to the event. The relays began April 16 and lasted through Saturday.

The women's 4x400-meter relay team placed the highest of all Baker competitors, as junior Katey Wegemer, freshman Chelsea Twietmeyer and sophomores Kelsey Heckathorne and Ashlee Miller pulled in an 11th place finish.

While none of the Baker athletes were able to find the podium, coach Zach Kindler said he was relatively pleased with how the team performed considering the circumstances.

"The cold weather absolutely affected their performances," Kindler said. "Since the KU relays are a bigger event, people want to perform well, but the cold weather tightens muscles."

The cold and rainy weather was especially hard on the athletes who participated in explosive events.

"The majority of the people we took were sprinters - hundred guys and hurdlers," Kindler said. "Across the board, we didn't do anything too exciting."

Recently named an All-American, Miller said she wasn't surprised to see times higher and jumps lower given the conditions.

"A lot of athletes were not at their best that meet," Miller said.

As the weekend brought warmer temperatures, the Baker track team was able to rebound at Ottawa University last weekend.

Sophomores Jackie Koch and Carrie Lister were the weekend standouts as Koch achieved personal bests in both the hammer throw and the discus, and Lister solidified her place as the second best Baker shot-put hurler of all time.

"I was really pleased with them," Kindler said. "I'm hoping that continues into the next meet."

Next up for the Wildcat track team are the conference championships. The meet is scheduled for Friday through Sunday at Central Methodist University in Fayette, Mo.

With a laundry list of personal bests, national qualifiers and All-Americans, the squad is looking to impress in what is perhaps the most crucial meet of the year.

"We did our best at the KU Relays," sophomore Kome Okiomah said. "But, we're all looking forward to conference this weekend."

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