The Carroll College track and field team added a pair of individuals and a relay team to its growing list of NAIA championship qualifiers on Saturday at the Mountain State Games in Pocatello, Idaho.
The men’s 4x800 relay team, sophomore heptathlete Josh Seeberger and freshman women’s 3,000 runner Jordan Mathes all punched tickets to NAIAs, while two other athletes either matched or improved upon their previous qualifying marks established earlier this season.
The men’s 4x800 team of junior Troy Solly, junior Austin Stuchell, freshman Derrick Williams and junior Taylor Peliska posted an NAIA-leading time of 7 minutes, 43.75 seconds to win the event. Idaho State was a distant second in 8:07.23 and Montana placed third in 8:18.42.
Carroll placed third in the event at last year’s NAIA championships for All-American status with three of the same runners in the lineup — Solly, Stuchell and Peliska — in 7:37.19.
Mathes, who was an All-American in 28th place in the NAIA cross country championships in November, continued to impress in her first season with the Saints by placing fourth in the women’s 3,000 with a time of 10:21.88, which comes in well under the automatic qualifier of 10:28.20. And her time figures to get faster when it’s adjusted for altitude.
Seeberger finished strong in the heptathlon to place ninth with 3,820 points. The minimum needed to qualify for nationals is 3,750, a score junior Will Roche came painfully close to achieving in 11th place with 3,722.
Sophomore Kathleen Mulligan improved on her season best in the women’s triple jump with a distance of 37 feet, 5.75 inches. The 2012 fifth-place finisher at indoor nationals had previously earned an automatic qualifier, but her latest jump will move her into second on the NAIA performance list.
Junior pole vaulter Marisa Arneson matched her season best with a clearance of 11-3.75, which is a provisional qualifying mark. She must vault 11-5 to ensure a trip to nationals.
Sprinter Brian Ustick shaved a little more time off his season best in the men’s 200 with a time of 22.26 in fourth place. His previous best this year was 22.29. He needs to shave another 0.2 seconds off to achieve a provisional qualifying time of 22.06 on a banked 200-meter track.
In other events, freshman Stephen Delaney placed sixth in the 60 hurdles (9.99), fifth in the 400 (49.80) and helped the 4x400 relay team to an eighth-place showing in 3:27.38.
Freshman Jacob Senecal placed sixth in the men’s open 800 (2:00.14), freshman Bailey Hughes was ninth in the women’s open 800 (2:21.32) and freshman Sandy Torres was sixth in the women’s invitational 800 (2:21.43). Torres has already qualified for nationals in the 800 with a season-best of 2:17.32, while Hughes has qualified in the mile in 5:11.91.
Carroll relay teams, two others qualify for NAIA nationals
The Carroll College men’s and women’s distance medley relay teams posted automatic NAIA indoor track and field national championship qualifying times on Friday at the Mountain State Games in Pocatello, Idaho.
“Those guys did a good job,” Carroll coach Matt Morris said. “The kids ran hard and did what we ask them to do — if you’re going to make mistakes, make aggressive mistakes.
“Sometimes, you underestimate how tactical indoors can be, especially if you’re coming right out of high school.”
The men’s team of sophomore Lyle Pocha (1,200 meters), freshman Stephan Delaney (400), junior Troy Solly (800) and freshman Derrick Williams (1,600) placed second behind Montana State in a time of 10 minutes, 13.57 seconds (NAIA qualifying: 10:21.10). Montana State’s winning time of 9:53.19 was a school record, and Montana State Billings was third in 10:17.56.
“Overall, it was a great time, and I think they’re happy to have it under their belt,” Morris said.
On the women’s side, the Saints’ team of freshman Jordan Mathes (1,200), sophomore Mallery Knoll (400), freshman Sandy Torres (800) and freshman Bailey Hughes (1,600) finished fourth in 12:32.73 (NAIA qualifying: 12:38.30), as MSU’s women won in a school record of 11:45.51. Idaho State was second in 12:18.13 and Southern Utah placed third in 12:25.09.
“Jordan got us out in a really good spot, Mallery was solid, Sandy went out a little quick, and Bailey looked great and handled being by herself really well,” Morris said.
The women’s relay team posted a time about 7 seconds faster than last year at the same meet, and that squad, which included All-American Rhianna Grossman, went on to advance to the finals and place eighth at nationals.
In other action, sophomore Hannah Hafner placed fourth in the women’s 5,000 in 18:24.85, which is a bit short of the NAIA automatic qualifying mark of 18:23.20, but after altitude adjustment will be well clear of that standard.
“She ran great and really stuck to her race plan,” Morris said. “She did a really good job and she has a ton of room for improvement.”
Sophomore Latecia Howell placed sixth in the pentathlon with 2,876 points, well over the NAIA qualifying minimum of 2,700. She ran the 60 hurdles in 10.57 seconds (609 points), high jumped 4 feet, 8.75 inches (555), threw the shot put 28-7.75 (447), long jumped 17-0.75 (614) and ran the 800 in 2:33.37 (651).
“I think Latecia is pretty happy, and she should be,” Morris said. “It’s hard to string together all of those events. She opened with a tough hurdle race and bounced right back in the high jump, and that’s what it takes to be a good multi-event athlete.”
Junior Easton Padden, who leads the NAIA in the men’s pole vault with a mark of 16-6.75, cleared 16-0.75 and tied for third place, one spot ahead of Montana State’s Ryan Kropp, a Capital High graduate who cleared 15-5.
Sophomore Kathleen Mulligan, an All-American indoors and outdoors in the triple jump last year, placed seventh in the long jump at 16-3.25.
In the men’s two-day heptathlon, juniors Will Roche and Ross Hillier enter today’s events in ninth and 10th, while sophomore Josh Seeburger is 15th.
Roche’s first-day marks were 7.73 in the 60 (640), 20-1.75 in the long jump (617), 30-5.75 in the shot put (443) and 6-0.5 in the high jump (661) for a total of 2,361. He needs to average 463 points in today’s three events (60 hurdles, pole vault, 1,000) to earn the NAIA qualifying minimum of 3,750.
Hillier’s first-day marks were 7.39 in the 60 (749), 20-10 in the long jump (664), 29-4.5 in the shot put (423) and 5-4.25 in the high jump (488) for a total of 2,324.
Seeburger’s marks were 7.88 in the 60 (595), 18-2.25 in the long jump (490), 34-6.75 in the shot put (518) and 5-3 in the high jump (464) for 2,067 points.