Outdoor track season is off and running

by Megan Stout

The Simpson track team traveled to Memphis, Tenn. over spring break for the Rhodes Invitational to kick off their outdoor season.

“We have added some people to the roster for the outdoor season, which is exciting,” said Head Coach Tim Byers. “We’ve been working really hard, and the meets will take care of themselves.”

The Storm men placed ninth out of 14 teams at the Rhodes Invitational despite not traveling a full squad.

Senior Lucas Carder placed second in the high jump at 6-6, and also garnered third place in the long jump with a leap of 21-0.

Carder also participated in the high jump at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track Championship in Ohio on March 8-9. He received an eighth place finish with a jump of 6-8. He was the only qualifier for nationals for the Storm, and his performance this season also led him to be named an All-American.

“Luke has had just a great season,” said Byers. “He is the first indoor All-American since ’96, and the first indoor field event All-American since Kip Janverin in ’88.”

Byers also commended the effort of sophomore Ryan Grazt, who competed in the 800 and 1500 and charted some career bests.

Others who placed for the Storm include freshman Ross Parker, who placed seventh in both the shot put with a throw of 40-3 1/4 and seventh in the discus 134-2. Freshman Ben Cox competed in four individual events, placing seventh in the 100 with a time of 11.61, 13th in the long jump with a leap of 17-9, 19th in the 200 with a time of :23.96, and 22nd in the shot put (27-1). Senior Bryan Maher contributed a seventh place finish in the 800 with a time of 2 minutes 4.68 seconds, and 12th in the 1500 at 4:23.77. Junior Tony Ekman finished eighth in the 1500 with a time of 4:16.85 and Aaron Keiser, also a junior, finished eighth in the 100 (11.67) and was 16th in the 200 (23.77). The Storm 4×400 relay team placed sixth with a time of 3:36.02.

The women placed sixth out of 14 teams, despite the fact that there were only three team members who traveled.

Seniors Becky Jolly, Renae Kingery and Sara Jensen made up the Storm squad at the Invitational. Jolly won the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 16.10 seconds, and placed 13th in the 200-meter run with a time of 29.36. Kingery, who participated in the javelin, achieved a career best with a throw of 101 1/2, and in addition placed 13th in the 100 hurdles with a time of 18.96.

Jensen contributed a third place in the 1500 with a time of 5:05.31, and a fifth place in the 800 with a time of 2:30.29. “We were surprised, but very pleased with our performance,” said Jolly.

The Rhodes Invitational marked the beginning of the outdoor season for both the men and women. Their next meet is the Wartburg Invitational on March 23.