Three ’Cats set BU records

(From left): Freshmen Kayla Hannam and Paige Rockers, Baker Orange staff member Katie Thurbon and freshman Shelby Equels run sprints in practice Wednesday.

(From left): Freshmen Kayla Hannam and Paige Rockers, Baker Orange staff member Katie Thurbon and freshman Shelby Equels run sprints in practice Wednesday. Photo by Pat Howell.

As the Baker University men’s and women’s track teams approach the last part of their indoor season, they have one main goal in mind. To win a triple crown.

In order for a team to achieve the triple crown, it would have to claim conference titles for cross-country, indoor track and outdoor track. The men’s team is nearly there after it claimed the Heart of America Athletic Conference outdoor championship title in 2011 and the cross-country title this fall.

Head Coach Zach Kindler is pleased with the steady progress he has seen from his team thus far and has his sights set on the indoor HAAC championship title on both the men’s and women’s sides.

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“Right now it looks really good on both sides that we should be able to continue our goals of winning a conference championship,” Kindler said. “For us, we just plan on continued progression.”

Kindler said although the Wildcats have faced some setbacks, a group of strong underclassmen have stepped up to help the team.

On Jan. 20 the ’Cats traveled to Lincoln, Neb., to participate in the Nebraska Wesleyan University Invitational, where three athletes grabbed school records and earned HAAC Athlete of the Week honors.

Freshman Tyler Sloan placed first in the women’s 200-meter dash with a time of 25.70. This time Sloan broke the school record she had set just one week ago at the Holiday Inn Invitational on Jan. 13 in Lincoln, Neb.

Baker Orange staff member Katie Thurbon set a school record in the women’s pole vault and is tied for the top pole vault in the NAIA this season with a mark of 3.70 meters on Jan. 20.

Thurbon was also selected as the NAIA National Women’s Indoor Field Athlete of the Week after her performance at the invitational.

For the men’s side, senior Ashton Ousley placed third in the high jump and sophomore Jeremy Gathright took fourth in the long jump despite suffering from a hamstring injury during the meet.

“I’m trying to break a couple of records, but my hamstring is preventing that from happening,” Gathright said. “I’d rather just be healthy than try to do something amazing.”

Juniors Taylor Nall and Aaron Caldwell both broke the previous school record in the 3,000-meter dash and placed eighth and ninth, respectively.

Baker will be back in action Friday in Lawrence for the Jayhawk Classic.

The entry level for the meet is based on qualifying times, so Kindler said he will be taking a limited squad.

“We are really going to go after and focus on individual events and try to get them qualified for nationals,” Kindler said.

Sophomore Ariella Harrison said there are still several ’Cats who are striving to qualify for nationals and are attempting to do so on Friday.

“It’s kind of a last minute try to qualify… but it’s where you want to peak at in indoor season. This is that meet,” Harrison said. “People are trying to get their (personal records) and do the best they can to get seeded high for conference.”

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