Track teams perform well in first season since 80s

Michael Majors competing in shot put. Majors is a sophomore planning to major in business.

Washburn University’s men’s and women’s track and field teams won several victories in their comeback season, setting a number of new records along the way.

The first season of track and field for Washburn University in decades started with the Pittsburg State Crimson and Gold Invitational Dec. 10.

The highlights of the day were several high placing finishes by Ichabods and 22 school records falling. Jacob Klemz won the 5000m men’s run.

In the pole vault, Allexis Menghini placed third and qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships.

Lauren Hills, Emily Baldwin and Jordan Hoffman placed eighth, tenth and 13th, respectively.

The Ichabods earned eight more top 10 finishes throughout the rest of the day. Michael Majors placed fourth in shot put.

Zach Skimbo placed third in the high jump. Kevin Norville placed sixth in the triple jump. Tyjai Adams finished fourth in the hurdles.

In the 600 yard run, Courtney Freed earned fourth. Elvis Reyes earned sixth in the one mile. Kaylee Snell finished fifth in the women’s 5000m run. Kelvin Keter placed third in the 3000m.

At the next meet, the UCM Invitational, two jumpers, Zach Skimbo in the high jump and Kevin Norville in the triple jump, put up numbers that qualified them provisionally for the Indoor Championships. Five more records were also re-written.

Following that, the team went to the Pitt State Relays, where they set another seven school records. They competed next at the UCM Relays, where three more records were broken and Allexis Menghini bettered her NCAA qualifying numbers.

The team was already off to a solid start, but their performances peaked at the Southern Missouri Lion’s Den Open. The women’s relay team, Jacob Klemz in the 3000m, Kelvin Keter in the 800m and Courtney Freed in the 600 yd all placed first in their respective events, along with several top five finishes for the rest of the team. Menghini again bettered her qualifying numbers and was joined in NCAA qualification by Kelvin Keter.

A small team went to the KSU Open and one more school record was written during the meet. Then, the teams went to the Indoor Championships. The men’s team placed 10th while the women’s team placed 12th. A few more records were broken and Jacob Klemz earned himself a NCAA qualifying time and an All-MIAA selection.

MaKayla Kueser also qualified for NCAA provisional. Kelvin Keter earned All-MIAA honors. Allexis Menghini moved onto the National Championships in Birmingham, AL, becoming the first Ichabod to place at Nationals for track.

The runners rested for the winter, preparing to return in spring. When they did return, they went on to set school records 28 times throughout the outdoor season.

At the outdoor championships, the teams both repeated their places at the indoor championships, with the men finishing 10th and the women finishing 12th.

At the MSSU Last Chance Qualifier, Jacob Klemz and MaKayla Kueser both won their events, and Kelvin Keter and Paul Alongo both finished second.

Allexis Menghini won the pole vault at the Loper Last Chance. Allexis Menghini represented Washburn at the NCAA Division II Championships. She finished 18th.

Several runners earned a place on the MIAA Honor Roll: Tyjai Adams, Melody Baker, Emily Baldwin, McKenzie Blevins, Amanda Conway, Emily Dennison, Courtney Freed, Madalynn Norris, Kimmie Sneep, Paige Miller, Kaylee Snell, Madison Uhing, Paul Alongo, Michael Majors, Kevin Norville, Chase Green, Skyler Henry, Cedric Lee, Kyle Hinton and Jacob Newlin.

Skyler Henry, Kaylee Snell and Kyle Hinton were all awarded the MIAA Academic Excellence Award.