Trinity University’s track and field teams participated in Cactus Cup, hosted by Texas A&M University-Kingsville on Saturday, March 22. In a meet dominated by Division I and Division II, Trinity was able to stand out with several top performances in both the men’s and women’s events.
“The non-DIII schools have a lot of scholarship athletes, so in a lot of ways their ultimate purpose for training and competing is different. In most events, they have more depth than DIII schools. It’s not daunting for Trinity track and field because we can rise to the occasion and compete against these athletes. During the race, it doesn’t matter what division you are, its who’s the most prepared,” said Joe Meno, volunteer track and field coach
The Tiger women were led by senior distance runner Jackie Newell’s win in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 11:38.84, winning the event by nearly 25 seconds. Junior sprinter and jumper Sarah Picket also had a strong performance in the high jump, tying for fourth place by hitting a mark of 1.53 meters.
“It was great to win the steeple chase this weekend because it was my first steeple race of the season. I’m looking to improve a lot from there, though. I was happy I won, but I’m not settling for that performance,” Newell said.
Newell and senior thrower Kelsey Ozele received SCAC honors after the meet for their outstanding performances. Oelze earned the conference honor for the second consecutive week. She finished second in the javelin with a throw of 37.97 meters. Oelze also posted a personal season-high shot put mark of 10.63 meters, and chalked up a throw of 28.45 meters in the discus.
Sophomore sprinter Bailey Drury and senior sprinters Salome Wilfred both had good showings in the 100-meter dash. Drury finished 11th overall with a time of 12.66, while Wilfred finished in 15th place with a time of 12.95 seconds. The two Tigers were top athletes among Division III runners.
On the men’s side, senior jumper George Warren finished second in the high jump with a height of 2.01 meters. Junior distance runner Ian Plantz finished third in the 800-meter dash with a time of 1:57.64, racing to the line less than five seconds after the winner had crossed.
“The race unfolded exactly as I planned with a strong last 200-m. I was only out-competed by a Dl competitor for first and a Dll competitor for second, so for me it feels as good as any first-place finish as a Dlll athlete. I knew quite a few of the athletes in the race on Saturday from either high school or past competitions, and they all have great sportsmanship, so I have no problem being out-competed by humble and enthusiastic people,” Plantz said.
Senior sprinter Will Paulus took 13th overall in the 400-meter dash, leading all D-III runners with a time of 50.54 seconds. Sophomore sprinter Vincent Omegba finished fifth by reaching 12.49 meters in the triple jump.
“Winning conference and improving both as individuals and as a team are always priority, a goal which the student athletes and coaches of Trinity University Track and Field make sure is emphasized from the very beginning of the year. You can always tell when a Trinity athlete is competing because the stands and field event areas are never quiet. We’re all shamelessly loud when it comes to cheering each other on,” Plantz said.
Trinity returns to action this week, hosting the Tiger Relays today at home.