The Bisons and Lady Bisons track teams broke records in Pittsburg, Kansas this past weekend in the Gorilla Classic hosted by Pittsburg State University (PSU).
Harding junior Lawson Belcher won the mile with a time of 4 minutes, 15.32 seconds, his personal best and first event victory indoors.
“I wasn’t really expecting to win it,” Belcher said. “The ends of my previous races were weaker, so I was going into it with a different mentality to finish stronger.”
Senior Josh Syrotchen had another NCAA provisional mark in the weight throw last Friday.
“My goal for the team this season, girls and guys, is to win conference again; it’d be a two-peat for us and that’d really be an accomplishment,” Syrotchen said. “Personally, I’d love to get to the national championship and win this year; last year, I came up short three inches.”
On the women’s side, junior Raianne Mason broke not one, but two records for Harding including a 13-year-old record in the 60-meter hurdles.
As far as breaking the 60-meter hurdle record, Mason was pleasantly surprised.
“Consistency has been one of my personal goals this season,” Mason said. “I haven’t done well most of the season, so it was nice to finally prove that I can really hurdle.”
In addition to that, Mason and the team of sophomores Ashley Reinert, Chelsea Howard and Kaylin Turley shattered the school record in the mile relay.
“For the 4×4 our coach told us to go for it,” Mason said. “It then became obvious we were going to beat the record. We were screaming our heads off at the end.”
The 4×4 team had good results in the past, but breaking a record is one of their biggest accomplishments.
“We didn’t just beat it — we smashed it,” Mason said. “We didn’t win the meet, but it didn’t matter because all our hard work paid off.”
Both the Bisons and Lady Bisons of the track team put in hard work every day at practice, often practicing Monday through Saturday for a few hours.
“I want to give credit to God and my teammates for my records,” Mason said. “I didn’t get either of those records by myself.”
In addition to these two results, the distance medley relay team of Turley, senior Melita Sutherland, freshman Parker Fane and junior Madison Drennan recorded its best time of the season, placing third with 13 seconds faster than their previous best time.
Sutherland was previously a conference champion in soccer and has received multiple awards and honors with the Lady Bisons soccer team. This season marks her Harding track debut.
“The transition was good,” Sutherland said. “I was super nervous about being out of shape compared to all the other girls so I just worked hard during practice and after a week, I felt like I was able to keep up and push the girls in practice.”
The Gorilla Classic was Harding’s final scheduled indoor meet of the season. The Bisons and Lady Bisons will begin the outdoor season on March 18 at the Rhodes College Invitational in Memphis, Tennessee.
“People often think track is an individual sport, but it’s not,” Mason said. “I couldn’t have broken that record without my teammates pushing me in practice, praying over me before my races and cheering for me at the meet.”