Broncos finish as high as 3rd at GPAC Championships

Devin Arnold finishes the final leg of the men's 4x400 as the relay team finishes first with an A standard national qualifying time of 3:14.28

Devin Arnold finishes the final leg of the men’s 4×400 as the relay team finishes first with an A standard national qualifying time of 3:14.28

During two days of competition, the Hastings College track and field teams took part in the Great Plains Athletic Conference Track and Field Championships Friday and Saturday. Overall, the women’s team finished in third place scoring 131 points, while the men finished in seventh place scoring 72 points. The women’s team of Doane College scored 255 points while the men’s team of Concordia University scored 216 points to claim the GPAC titles. The Broncos Courtney Mills was named female athlete of the meet.

Mills, a sophomore from Berthoud, CO, won the women’s 100 meter dash with a time of 12.18 seconds. She also won the triple jump while finishing second in the long jump and finished third in the 200 meter dash. Mills finished with a B standard national qualifying time in the 100 meter dash while having A standard jumps in the long and triple jump.

The women’s side of the Hastings College track team shined in the two day competition with performances that helped place the team amongst the top three in the conference. Junior Lauren Shomaker finished second in the women’s 3000 meter steeple chase with an A standard qualifying time of 11:19.04 to break her own school record. That wouldn’t be the only record she broke, she finished fourth in the 5k but she set a conference and a stadium record in the 10k with a time of 37:11.93.

“Our team did awesome, we all dug deep and found something to help each other out. I know they are on my mind when I’m competing, not a lot of distance runners compete in more than one or two events and I did three,” Shomaker said. “Unfortunately I don’t love how I finished up in my last two races but I’m really happy with how the 10k went, I can’t complain at all about winning that and setting a conference record because that wasn’t even on my mind going into it.”

Other notable women’s performances included junior Jennifer Maag, who won the shot put with a throw of 15.20 meters to extend her national leading mark and set a new GPAC record. It was also an A standard national qualifying throw. Junior Michelle Toukan finished third in the 100 meter dash with a time of 12.28 seconds. Junior Porche Parnell finished fifth in the 200 meter dash with a time of 26.01 seconds while finishing fourth in the 400 meter dash with a B standard qualifying time of 57.32 seconds. The women finished second in the 4×100 meter relay with an A standard qualifying time while the 4×400 meter relay team consisted of Toukan, Parnell, Mills and freshmen Ali Johnson, finished third with a B standard qualifying time.

“One of the things that I’ve already started doing is looking at not just next year but the year after that – who do we have then? What events are they going to fill? How can they help us?” said head coach Ryan Mahoney. “Right now the two deepest teams in the conference are Doane and Concordia. Depth is everything; my high school teams were really good because of depth. Honestly, it’s really easy. It’s just doing it now is the difficult part.”

Notable men’s performances from Hastings College include the men’s 4X400 team that consisted of Adrian Lewis, Dylan Miller, Matt Giudice and Devin Arnold, winning with an A standard qualifying time of 3:18.82. Sophomore Sean Robnett finished fifth in the men’s 100 meter dash with a time of 11.09 seconds. Senior Tyler Rathke finished in second place in the discus throw with an A standard qualifying throw of 49.98 meters.

For some seniors this conference meet marked the last collegiate competition they will ever compete in on a track team. “At the end of every year I’m always glad to be done, I’m very worn out,” senior Nick Masada said on Tuesday during 90.1 KFKX ‘Bronco Track Talk’. “I’ve been running the mile consistently since fourth grade and so as tired as I am, I think motivation with this being like the tenth year I’ve ran track has dipped a little bit but at the same time I’m probably going to be a little emotional at conference.”

The Broncos track and field teams have been competing almost year round and their season will come to a close on May 24 when they compete in the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Nationals.

“I am happy with the performance, is it where I want to be in the end, no. Obviously I want to come in and win the GPAC for men and women and at worst case to come in thinking we can do this if we have a good meet,” Mahoney said. “We’re not there yet, we have to be patient and we have to keep getting better each meet, each practice, each year.”

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Broncos Prepare for Doane Invitational

Matthew Guidice (left) and Grant Hewitt (right) prepare for Doane Invitational at practice

Matthew Guidice (left) and Grant Hewitt (right) prepare for Doane Invitational at practice

The past few weeks the Bronco track and field team has split up and competed in larger scale meets at Wichita University and Kansas University to get competition against athletes around the NCAA Division I level. The Broncos have also competed against GPAC completion at Doane College and Concordia University.

Some of the weekend’s best performances came at the KU relays this past weekend where both Jennifer Maag and Lauren Shomaker were named Hauff Mid-America Sports/GPAC Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Athletes-of-the-Week.

“You don’t realize that all of the athletes are at a higher level and you’re just trying to compete with them,” said senior thrower McKayla Gowen on 90.1 KFKX Bronco Track Talk. “It’s a whole flight you are trying to beat and it’s coming from behind, its kind of fun being an NAIA athlete and competing with them and coming back like ‘I won second in the hammer,’ and it’s just fun to be able to perform against the DI athletes.”

Maag was named athlete-of-the-week for finishing seventh in the shot put with a throw of 49’2¼ meters, finishing highest of all non-Division I competitors. Maag also finished 11th overall in the hammer throw with a throw of 169’8” meters.

Shomaker finished fifth overall and first out of all NAIA runners in the 5k with her time of 17:30.83 breaking the previous school record by 21 seconds.

One of the more impressive performances from this past week came in the Doane Relays meet where freshmen Zane Peterson who competed in his first decathlon.

“Zane really did a nice job, he finished fifth and is ranked fifth in the conference right now,” said head coach Ryan Mahoney on 90.1 KFKX Bronco Track Talk. “It was a good couple of days for him, I think he had his best marks in all ten events, so he’s really starting to pick it up.”

This week the entire Bronco team will be together to compete at the Doane Invitational. This meet will be a smaller scale meet to prepare the team without over working the week before the GPAC championship meet.

“I know that my athletes, the ones I primarily work with are only doing one event and that’s about it,” Mahoney said. “It’s pretty low-key, I think there will be four or five teams there.”

Following the Doane Invitational, the Broncos will be competing in the GPAC championship meet at Doane College in Crete, Ne.

Broncos Prepare for Kansas Relays, Doane

Erin Chilton

Erin Chilton

The Broncos are coming off of a weekend in which the team split up to compete in two separate meets. Both sides of the team put up impressive marks at the Concordia Invite and the Woodman Classic at Wichita State.

In the indoor season, the men’s throwers created a one-two-punch for opponents between seniors Tyler Rathke and Justin Roberts. Now in the outdoor season the women’s throwers are re-creating a similar attack for Hastings College.

Jennifer Maag, who won the shot put nationally indoor, won both the discus and shot put with a discus throw of 48.37 meters and a shot put throw of 14.55 meters. Senior McKayla Gowen finished second in the hammer throw with a throw of 53.55 meters. Her throw also broke the school record and she is currently the No. 1 throw in the GPAC and the No. 3 throw in the NAIA this season in the hammer.

“Well that’s great, that will give us more conference and national points for our team and that’s exciting to see,” said head coach Ryan Mahoney. “She was excited about it and she talked about how she wants to improve and throw even further and she’s not too far off the national lead.”

At Wichita Tyler Rathke came close to matching his own school record in the discuss and Lauren Shomaker returned to the track after suffering from a concussion the week before.

At the other meet the Broncos competed in on Saturday, at the Concordia Invite some Broncos were left to compete without their specific coach.

“It’s definitely going to show how much teamwork there is in track, you wouldn’t really think there is,” said Cody Jackson on ‘90.1 KFKX Bronco Track Talk’. “We’re going to have to help each other out a lot and catch our steps and just help as much as we can so it’s going to be difficult.”

Freshmen Erin Chilton came close to qualifying nationally with a ‘B’ standard pole vault. Freshmen Kiera McKee shaved roughly ten seconds off her overall 1,500 meter run time while Will Baired and Nick Masada also cut time in the 1,500 meter run. Junior Cody Jackson is now ranked No. 1 in the GPAC and tied for No. 3 in the NAIA after his national qualifying pole vault of 4.80 meters.

Senior pentathlon athlete Audrey Gaspers is done for the season after injuring a stress fracture she suffered at the Concordia Invite while preparing for the finals of the 100-hurdles. With GPAC Championships on May 3rd Audrey hopes to make a return to the track.

“I would love to, I mean the way my season is going I would only be qualified in the 100 meter hurdles since I wont be able to compete in multi’s this week,” said Gaspers on ‘90.1 KFKX Bronco Track Talk’. “I’m hoping I will be but I’m kind of staying low on my expectations because I don’t want to get my hopes up.”

The Broncos will be competing at the Kansas Relays at Kansas University this weekend while part of the team will split up and compete in a meet at Doane College.

“In an ideal world I would be everywhere but it’s about the athletes and giving them the right opportunities more than it is about me,” Mahoney said. “I think in these situations the people that we are sending to these other meets are getting better competition and it is in their best interest.”