The Rocky Mountain College Indoor Track & Field team has competed in five meets for this short winter season and has made some tremendous jumps, literally and figuratively, for this short time frame.
RMC men’s and women’s teams competed hard throughout the season traveling to Spearfish, South Dakota (three times); Pocatello, Idaho; and Brookings, South Dakota. Some awesome highlights of the season include a couple school record breakers, RMC’s first ever indoor weight thrower, and on the men’s side multiple national qualifiers. Along with new coaches, Coach McMorris and Coach Merritt, the sprinter and field teams are coming along quite nicely.
On the women’s side, two indoor school records were broken, in the pentathlon and 600m. Both school records were previously held from last year’s indoor season by now sophomore, Carrie Cota. In the pentathlon, Rayna Laasko (freshman) competed well in this event for her first time ever and broke the school record by getting a total of 2401 points. The pentathlon includes a 60m hurdle race, high jump, long jump, shot put, and an 800m race. Based on how well a competitor does in each event, they receive points for a total point score. In Brookings, South Dakota, Corinne Hamilton broke the 600m record by about 3 seconds, now holding it at a 1:44.26. This meet was a two-day meet and this sophomore broke this record the first day and then crushed her mile at 5:24 the next day, breaking her best time ever in five years, which she was very excited about. She states, “If you want something forget the details and just go for it.” She seems to follow her own advice well. Both these girls have more to come in the outdoor season.
Another thrilling element of the season included more people doing field events. Officially, as of last year, the track & field team was approved for a new budget to incorporate all sprinting and field events into a heavily distance oriented program. Although there is a new coaching staff that comes along with it, it is exciting to get to watch RMC people in pretty much every event. One of the newer members of the team includes Jordyn Walter, who is RMC’s first ever weight thrower on the women’s side.
“Basically I never really saw myself doing track or let alone weight throw, but I think it’s super fun and has become my favorite event. I can’t wait to get into hammer throw outdoor season,” said Walter, expressing her joy of being able to try something new. Along with Walter, RMC now has new high jumpers, long jumpers, and pole vaulters who make every meet fun to watch.
One of the things most athletes are eager for is the chance to compete at the national level. RMC has five strong athletes who have the opportunity to do just that.
At the Pocatello track meet the distance medley relay team (DMR) qualified for nationals with a time of 10:24.45. This team consisted of Shane Ketchum (sophomore), Brenden Leaming (junior), Christopher Giovagnoli (junior), and Issac Petsch (junior). Petsch also qualified in the mile with a time of 4:18.21. Taking 2nd at outdoor nationals last year, Petsch is used to competing with high competition and he puts in the hard work. The 5th qualifier happens to be a new recruit and also RMC football player, Derrick Olsen. Recently joining the track & field team, i n Olsen surprised many when he ran at 8.34 seconds in the 60m hurdles at his first race of the season in order to qualify for indoor nationals. This time also has become the school record for the men’s 60m hurdles.
Indoor Track & Field Nationals will be held in Pittsburgh, Kansas, March 1-3. The coaches, as well as the athletes are ready to go out there and put their best on the line. As far as outdoor season, there is much more to come, including future records and national qualifiers. Coach Mike McLean says “When we can get kids healthy and on the track, we’re just getting better and better each week. The program is only going upwards.” He is excited to see what the men’s DMR can do at indoor and know the team as a whole is only growing and becoming a team to compete with.