Two women provisionally qualify for nationals in track early

by Nicole Dillenburg

Two Simpson track veterans, senior Catie Ellingson and junior Kinsey Bak, provisionally qualified for the indoor national track meet. This is familiar territory for the two competitors, totaling seven trips to the event between the two of them.

“Both of these girls have national meet experience, their expectations are high,” said head coach Dave Cleveland. “Our goal is to get them to the top, while tweaking and improving the little things they can get better at.”

Bak qualified in the high jump with a leap of just over 5-5 3/4 , which was a personal best. Ellingson qualified twice, first in the mile with a time of 4:59.47, which was good enough for the second best time in the nation and in the 800 with a time of 2:14.50 which is the 12th fastest time run in the nation this year.

A record that consists of many accomplishments may put a lot of demand on these athletes. Instead of letting the pressure get to them, Ellingson and Bak focus more on trying to set their personal best.

Bak found out that striving for her personal best has been paying off.

“It feels like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders,” Bak said. “I’m happy I was able to accomplish it earlier in the season, it’s such a relief.”

Having two members of the team already provisionally qualify for indoor nationals makes things look optimistic for the near future. 

“It is good to qualify and perform at that level in this time of the season,” Cleveland said. “We always hope as a coach that they will get back there again.”

Ellingson has qualified to run the mile and the 800.  

“I just plan to follow the workouts (my) coach prepares in order to make sure I am ready for nationals,” Ellingson said.

Bak has qualified for the high jump and is still waiting to see if she makes it in the pentathlon, which is made up of the 55m hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and 800. Bak said that her preparations for nationals will consist of making the bar on first attempts every time and being more comfortable with higher heights in the high jump.

The indoor national track meet will take place at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio on March 11 and 12.