The Hastings College track and field team opened their outdoor season on March 30, hosting the annual Bronco Invite. Hastings was able to collect seven first- place finishes out of 39 events. The Broncos competed against six other teams, three of those teams being members of the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC).
“For the first meet, especially coming as quickly as it did after spring break, the performances are never quite as glowing as we hope them to be, but we got through it without major injuries,” said Track and Field Head Coach Ryan Mahoney. “We had some national qualifying marks — (sophomore) Jon (Flight) in the high hurdles, (sophomore) Justin (Villars) had a good discus throw and hit a provisional in shot put. (Senior) Keely (Parish) had a provisional discus throw and then an automatic in the hammer throw. There were some decent marks, but like I said, getting through without any injuries is a big thing.”
The women’s team dominated with four first-place finishes in the meet, with most coming from underclassmen. First-year student Aleisha McDonald outran her competition in the 3000-meter steeplechase, taking first by 10 seconds with a time of 12:24.31. First-year student Maddie Moran won the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.56 seconds. First-year student Hannah Warner won the 400-meter dash, clocking in at 1:02.07 seconds. The Bronco “A” relay team (comprised of Senior Shant Cunningham, First-year Daisy Maessner, First-year Julyah Wilson and Moran) won the 4×100-meter relay with a time of 48.55 seconds. The women’s team also tallied six second-place finishes, three third-place finishes, and six fourth- place finishes.
“It makes me excited for the future seeing what I can accomplish as a freshman,” said First-year Lexi Preissler. “We have a strong group of freshmen and I think it’s encouraging for us all to be able to see our outcomes and it makes us all motivated for the upcoming years.”
On the men’s side, the young talent continued to shine for the Broncos with three first-place finishes from underclassmen. Flight took first in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.73 seconds. First- year Cole Schmidt won the men’s long jump with a 7.72 meter jump. Villars was the final first-place finisher with a throw of 50.18 meters in men’s discus. The HC men’s team was able to get five second-place finishes, four third-place finishes, and four fourth-place finishes.
The Bronco Invite is the first outdoor meet of the season for Hastings College, and the Broncos’ only home meet of the year. The meet gave students a chance to watch their fellow students compete.
“The best part is being able to give our friends the opportunity to come out and support us,” said Senior Kelbie Lyon. “Also, to see what we do, because a lot of people don’t know what track and field athletes do, so it’s an opportunity for a lot around HC to come watch us perform.”
The Broncos have a lot to look forward to this season after getting seven All-Americans at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Indoor National Championship. With the success during the indoor season, they will use that to fuel the rest of the outdoor season.
“My goal is definitely place high in both events (hammer throw and shot put). I should be able to place All-American in both events, and that’s my goal,” Lyon said.
Preissler said her goal is to drop her times and gain new personal records. While doing this, her goal is to make it to Outdoor Nationals.
The Broncos will have five more meets to get the chance to qualify for the GPAC Outdoor Championships that will be held at Mount Marty College in Yankton, South Dakota on May 3 and 4. Later, the Broncos will round out their season in Gulf Shores, Alabama, for the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on May 23-25.