Athletes Overcome the Elements

JOE HASENSTAB | Staff Reporter IMG_0854

When it comes to running and jumping competitively outdoors, temperatures in the 30s, high winds and a mixture of rain and freezing rain are certainly not ideal.

That is what the Butler track and field team dealt with last weekend when it traveled to the University of Cincinnati for the Oliver Nickoloff Invitational.

Despite the poor weather, the Bulldogs were able to put together a solid meet, head coach Matt Roe said.

“It was a great effort by the team and how they performed,” Roe said. “Most importantly, just how they competed (was great) because the weather was just so bad.”

Several athletes had good individual performances. Senior Shelbi Burnett won the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 11:01.29. Freshman Colleen Weatherford also performed well in the steeplechase, finishing third and about eight seconds behind Burnett.

Junior Nicole Hudec placed first in the triple jump with a 10.93-meter jump.

On the men’s side, seniors Andrew Wallace and Dominique Stephens both finished in the top five of their events. Wallace placed third in the 400-meter dash and Stephens came in fifth in the discus throw.

Senior Nigel Spears said he wasn’t pleased with his performance at the meet and that the weather affected his events.

“For short sprint events, like long jump, it wasn’t the best conditions because there was freezing rain,” Spears said. “There was a mixture between rain and freezing rain all day, from the moment we stepped off the bus to when we left.”

This weekend, the team has two meets, one at the University of Miami (Ohio) and the other at Stanford. The majority of the team will head to Oxford, Ohio, and five runners will go to Stanford.

Spears is one of the team members who will compete at Miami of Ohio. The weather may also affect the events held on Friday, as there is rain in the forecast. Spears said rain is not as bad as cold weather because, when it is cold out, it is hard for athletes to keep their muscles warm between events.

The five athletes that will head to Stanford University this weekend are seniors Tom Anderson and Kirsty Legg, juniors Tom Curr and Katie Good, and sophomore Erik Peterson. This will be the first outdoor meet of the season for every athlete except Legg. Roe said that they all have a specific goal in mind for this meet.

“What we are seeking for at Stanford are marks that will qualify them for the NCAA first round in Jacksonville,” Roe said. “That’s the expectation–going out there that they’re going to run fast enough to have marks that will hold up as one of the top 48 marks in their event area in the region.”