Track athletes hit 53 season-best marks

The 2016 outdoor season continues to be a remarkable one for the Chadron State track and field team as they competed at three big meets in California: the Mt. SAC Relays, Azusa; the Brian Clay Invitational, Azusa; and the Long Beach State Invitational, Long Beach. The Eagles broke eight school records and hit a combined 53 season-best marks.

The women led the way for the Eagles breaking six of the eight records set during their trip. CSC’s first day of competition on Thursday, started with the heptathlon. Shelby Bozner, senior of Rock Springs, Wyoming, scored 5,313 points placing 10th among 49 entries at Mt. SAC. Bozner’s point total is well above the automatic qualifying standard of 5,180 for the D-II Outdoor National Track and Field Championships in May. Bozner hit personal bests in four of the seven heptathlon events.

Two other Eagles competed in the heptathlon, Kelsy Wood, junior of Hemingford, and Sami Schmit, senior of Cody; placing 29th and 32nd, respectively. Wood and Schmit’s point totals of 4,690 and 4,624, respectively, easily exceed the provisional qualifying standard of 4,442.

Three school records fell for CSC at the Brian Clay Invitational on Friday. Nicky Banzhaf, sophomore of Chadron, shined yet again in the 5,000-meter race running 17 minutes, 42.49 seconds, taking nearly 13 seconds off the former record she set last year.

The next two records to fall came from seniors. For the women, Tiffany Thomas, senior of Kingston, Jamaica, finished ninth in the 400 running 55.45, nearly a second faster than her previous record of 56.27, which she set earlier this outdoor season.

On the men’s side, Zerek Jones, senior of La Junta, Colorado, placed 23rd in 800, running 1:52.25. Jones’ time broke a 25-year-old CSC record set in 1991 by former Eagle Scott Pettit.

Late Friday evening, a fourth record fell for CSC, but at Mt. SAC. The women’s 4×400 relay ran 3:48.59 placing sixth in their division and taking exactly one second off the record set a season ago. The team consisted of Bozner, Schmit, Nikki Glasson, senior of Wheatland, Wyoming; and Thomas, in that order.

CSC also had a number of high finishes and season bests at Brian Clay. Stachia Reuwsaat, junior of Black Hawk, South Dakota, finished third in long jump with a leap of 19 feet, 6 1/4 inches. Reuwsaat’s mark was 2-1/2 inches away from first place.

“We are having a great (outdoor) season,” Head Track and Field Coach Brad Gamble said. “This trip helped a lot of our athletes and we hope to carry this momentum and success into the conference meet in a few weeks.”

On the men’s side, distance and throws excelled. In the 5,000, Alejandro Garcia, senior of Pine Bluffs, Wyoming, clocked in at 15:03.43, finishing 17th among 24 runners. Garcia’s time is the second fastest all-time in program history.

Three Eagles placed in the top 10 for the shot put. Kyle McCarthy, graduate student of Aurora, led the way throwing 52-3 3/4 to place seventh. Blake Jacobs, sophomore of Highlands Ranch, Colorado, and David Aldridge, sophomore of Omaha, were not far behind throwing 51-2 3/4 and 51-1, finishing eighth and ninth, respectively.

CSC’s final day of competition at the Long Beach State Invitational, had more highlights and records fall. In the final event of the day, women’s pole vault, Angelique Urenda, junior of Pueblo, Colorado, cleared 12- 1/2 to win her heat and becoming the first CSC female to clear 12 feet in pole vault. Urenda now owns both the indoor and outdoor record in the event.

Jones also lowered his own record in the 800 running 1:50.3 to finish sixth among 100 entries. Damarcus Simpson, sophomore of Lafayette, Georgia, placed third in the elite section of long jump at Mt. SAC leaping 25-9 1/2. Simpson’s mark currently leads all of D-II outdoors in long jump and is and automatic qualifying mark for Outdoor Nationals in May.

The Eagles will travel to Golden, Colorado for the Colorado School of Mines Pre-Conference Invitational this weekend before the RMAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships on May 6-8.

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