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.”