Over the past weekend, the Fort Hays State University indoor track and field squad traveled to Warrensburg, Mo., for a heavily stacked Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association meet.
“The competition was unbelievable. It’s basically a precursor to our national meet,” said head coach Dennis Weber.
Overall, both teams finished near the middle of the pack. The women finished seventh, and the men finished sixth.
“We really would have liked to finish at around third place,” Weber said.
Fort Hays had two Tigers who were victorious in their respectable events, senior Christa Bergmann and junior Max Alonso. Bergmann continued her dominance in the weight throw, winning the event with a throw of 58 feet, 1 3/4 inches. She also finished fifth in the shot put.
Alonso threw about a half a foot shorter than he usually does, but it was still good enough to win the shot put. He threw 59-9. Alonso also participated in the weight throw, placing fourth with 58-1/4. Both athletes have qualified for nationals.
Even with the competition level so high, the Tigers did not shy away with five school records being broken and other personal bests happening at the meet.
“It’s a tribute to all of our coaches; I’m very thankful for that,” Weber said. “They had them ready to go.”
Freshman Sam Szczublewski finished fifth in the 600-yard run, but broke the school record with a time of one minute and 27.29 seconds. Another to break a school record was junior Heidi Hines. Hines placed fifth in the 3,000-meter run, she posted a time of 10:58.23. Along with Szczublewski and Hines, the medley relay, consisting of junior Raven Boetlger, senior Ashley Turpin, freshman Carman Hill and senior Amie Algrim, also had a record-breaking day. The relay team ran a 12:31.61, earning them third place at the MIAA meet.
Last year’s national champion in the long jump and runner-up in the triple jump, senior Darcie Schmitz, did not break a record, but had her first jump over 40 feet in the triple jump. Schmitz finished third in the event, jumping 40-1 1/4. She also placed fifth in the long jump.
“Darcie jumped really well, placing third, but she was jumping against the one and two ranked girls in the nation,” Weber said.
The guys also broke two records. Senior Mitch Sahlfeld and junior Cameron Rieth. Sahlfeld broke his own record in the weight throw for the fifth time this year, throwing 64-3 3/4 placing him second in the meet. Sahlfeld also placed third in the shot put. Rieth posted a provisional mark in the 5,000-meter run along with breaking the school record in 14:44.71.
Freshman Bryant Bombardier posted a provisional mark with his best jump of the season at 6-9 in the high jump.
“He’s a walk-on for us and jumped near the automatic qualifying mark for nationals,” Weber said.
Four Tigers managed to qualify for nationals on March 11-12 at Albuquerque, N.M.
On the women’s side, Bergmann, Schmitz and senior Carissa Heim qualified.
Bergmann made it in the weight throw, Schmitz qualified in the triple jump and Heim will compete in the heptathlon.
On the men’s side, Alonso was the only one to qualify, making it in the shot put.
The top 12 athletes in each event are guaranteed a spot at nationals.
Sahlfeld and freshman Gabriella were one position away from making it.