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Nationals loom for track and field

Cody Hunt, senior of Lingle, Wyo., nestles a steel sphere in his shoulder in preparation to hurtle it across the practice fields on the southeast corner of campus Tuesday. Hunt is a criminal justice major. — Photo by T.J. Thomson

Cody Hunt, senior of Lingle, Wyo., nestles a steel sphere in his shoulder in preparation to hurtle it across the practice fields on the southeast corner of campus Tuesday. Hunt is a criminal justice major. — Photo by T.J. Thomson

Cody Hunt and Jazmyn Webster will soon be competing at the highest level of NCAA DII track and field.

But neither Webster, a sophomore jumper from Cheyenne, nor Hunt, a junior shot-putter from Lingle, Wyo., is overly concerned with the pressure of national competition.

“I’ve been [to nationals] three times, so I’m not too nervous,” Webster said.

Hunt echoed Webster’s nonchalance.

“I’m not nervous,” Hunt said, “Just another day, just another track meet.”

Hunt has already competed at both the indoor and outdoor national meets a total of six times.

Hunt and Webster have both received automatic qualifications for the national meet May 24-26 in Pueblo, Colo. Hunt qualified in shot put at the Fort Hays State Quad in Fort Hays, Kan., with a distance of 59-10 1/2. Webster qualified automatically in high jump at the same meet with a height of 5-9 3/4 inches. Webster also qualified provisionally in long jump at the South Dakota Mines-Bauer Invitational with a distance of 18-10 1/2.

Both athletes’ automatic qualifications broke school records.

Although nerves aren’t an issue for either of them, Hunt and Webster both acknowledged some mental obstacles they would have to overcome.

“Once the bar gets higher I feel like I can’t clear it,” Webster said, “and then my run through is completely off.”

Webster also said that her competitors helped push her to perform better.

“Going up against the number one jumper, I really like to watch what she does and mix it in with what I do,” she said.

Hunt is focusing on refining his technique.

“I know I’ve got the strength,” Hunt said, “but my biggest problem is I rush things and change things when they don’t need to be changed.”

Nine other athletes have qualified provisionally for the national meet. Sophomore Dean Francis, of Montego Bay, Jamaica, qualified in the 200 meter; junior Ashley Riesen of Chadron qualified in the 1500 meter; sophomore Charith Kapukotuwa of Sri Lanka qualified in discus; sophomore Alyssa Norton of Rushville qualified in discus; senior Stacee Craig of Powell, Wyo., qualified in the heptathlon; and Francis, freshman Justin Melton of Douglas, Wyo., sophomore Brandon Segelke of Sidney, and sophomore Alex Graham of St. Leonardo, Jamaica, qualified as a 4×100 relay team.

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