HUTCHINSON, Kan. – The NIACC men’s and women’s track and field teams compete in the NJCAA national meet Thursday through Saturday.
The NIACC men qualified six individuals and the 4×800-meter relay for the national meet. The Lady Trojans qualified three individuals.
For the NIACC men, Trent Smith (Charles City, Ia.), Mason Powers (Gilbert, Ia.,) and Sapolai Yao (Papua New Guinea) all qualified in the 5,000-meter run. Yao and Powers qualified in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Smith will also run in the 5,000, Alex Lugo qualified in the 800, Will Hanson (Aurelia, Ia.) qualified in the 110 hurdles and Trey Taylor (Bloomfied, Conn.) qualified in the hammer and the javelin.
Taylor, who has signed a national letter of intent with University of Texas-Pan American, said he was pleased with his sophomore outdoor track and field season.
“I learned a lot about myself, mentally and physically,” he said. “I feel as if I got better as an athlete.
“I know what I need to work on and where my strengths and weaknesses are.”
Taylor is seeded 13th in the hammer with a throw of 48.8 meters.
“I feel that the nationals are a big selection of qualifiers that never finish where they are seeded,” Taylor said. “You can make nationals and be seeded last and end up being top 8.
Nationals are a great experience with a lot of outstanding athletes.”
For the Lady Trojans, sophomore Emily Burchett (Mayview, Mo.) qualified in the hammer and shot put. Freshman Lateeka Thompson (Burnsville, Minn.) qualified in the discus and shot put and sophomore Hillary Garvey (Hudson, Ia.) qualified in the 800.
Burchett set a Region XI record with her first-place finish in the hammer throw (44.51 meters) at the regional meet in Council Bluffs May 5.
“My season started out slow due to weather,” Burchett said. “but has now shown that I have progressed in my throwing and am excited to show what I can do.
“Throwing is a passion of mine and I’m very excited to throw at the national level and see my hard work pay off.”