Written by Jack Bush-Joseph
Last weekend was a big one for both of the Colorado College track and field teams as the 2016 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Track & Field Championships took place in Seguin, TX. The SCAC Conference Championships is a special time of year, with a lot of hard work and dedication culminating in one weekend. For most athletes, the SCAC championship is usually the end of the season, but this year there is a fairly large number of Tigers that will continue to compete.
The Tigers managed to take six individual SCAC titles over the weekend, which is the most CC has earned in one year since joining the SCAC in 2006. The team also set a personal best for the total amount of points scored, combining both women’s and men’s.
For the men’s team, sophomore John Hatch and first-year Henry Baldwin both scored individual titles over the weekend. Hatch won the triple jump event with a remarkable leap of 43’ 7”, the best mark at the meet since 2012, in just his second time competing at the collegiate level. Hatch also claimed an all-conference honor with a third-place finish in the long jump. Baldwin recorded the school’s first SCAC high jump title with a leap of 1.87 meters (6’ 1.5”).
“I was extremely happy with how I jumped at the meet. I was feeling a lot of pressure before, but getting the win as a first-year was a huge confidence boost,” said Baldwin. “I think overall the weekend was a huge confidence booster for both teams.”
Other notable performances included first-year Quinn Gattey, who captured two all-conference honors, finishing second in the 400-meter hurdles race and anchoring the team’s 4×400 relay that finished second with fellow teammates first-year Greg Williamson and sophomores Justin Nguyen and Ethan Holland.
“The big challenge now is to take the momentum from a big weekend by the team and use that to reach our individual goals,” said Gattey.
First place in the championship went to Trinity, while Texas Lutheran took second. The team’s overall finish in third is a great victory, and the best is still hopefully yet to come.
The women’s team also had a great result last weekend, taking third place for the second consecutive year. Junior Stefani Messick tore up the 800-meter run with an astounding time of 2:21.49, beating three-time reigning champion Mariana Sigala of Trinity, who Messick finished second to in last year’s meet. Sophomore Asmeda Spalding-Aguirre won CC’s first-ever title in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:06.88.
“Everyone is definitely burnt out but trying to make one last good push,” said Spalding-Aguirre. “It was cool to see both teams doing well and really competing.”
In the longer distance events, first-year Allysa Warling and junior Katie Sandfort both took individual titles, with Sandfort taking the 10K on Friday and Warling the 5K on Saturday.
The team also earned two all-conference honors in both relays on Saturday. Junior Ellie Swanson and sophomore Duranya Freeman, along with Messick and Spalding-Aguirre finished second in the 4×400-meter relay. Swanson and Spalding-Aguirre also finished third in the 4×100 meter relay team with sophomores Ayla Loper and McKenna Schnack. First-year Leah Vedhuisen claimed an all-conference honor finishing third in the 1,500-meter run.
The Tigers’ third-place finish has motivated them to continue the push to compete at nationals.
Moving forward, the Tigers are gearing up for the final regular season meet at Occidental College. The meet at Occidental is primarily a Division I and II event, but serves as a perfect opportunity for some of the Tigers to get an extra chance to compete at an NCAA meet and beat CC records or try qualifying for nationals. 20 male athletes are able to earn spots to go to nationals, while women have 22 spots to compete for.
The next meet is not this upcoming weekend but the next at Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA. Nationals are in mid-May in Waverly, IA.