The Bisons and Lady Bisons track and field team opened their outdoor season on Saturday, March 18, at the Rhodes Invitational at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. The Bisons and Lady Bisons combined for six event victories in the men’s discus throw and 10,000-meter, and the women’s 100-meter dash, the mile, the 4×800-meter relay, and 10,000-meter.
Junior Madison Drennan won the mile with a personal best of 5:08.91 and collaborated with freshman Davis Atkins and Parker Fane, as well as senior Melita Sutherland for the 4×800 meter-relay victory with a time of 9:28.24.
“The transition from indoor to outdoor is tricky, but it’s just the beginning,” Drennan said. “A lot of really great things happened this past weekend, but we also got to see where improvements need to be made.”
Senior Russell Chase and junior Kirstie Smith were both victorious in the 10,000 meter run. The pair ran personal bests with Chase finishing in 32 minutes, 00.38 seconds, 23 seconds off of his previous time, and Smith ran a 38:51.94, shaving one minute and 31 seconds off of her previous time.
“It was my first outdoor race and 10k in a couple of years, so I was really just going to try to get a feel for the distance and see where my fitness was,” Smith said. “[The 10k] is probably my favorite event, and it’s a good event to contribute to the team score at the conference meet.”
Senior thrower Josh Syrotchen claimed a spot at the NCAA Division II Track and Field National Championship with his third throw of the season flying 194 feet, 8 inches. Syrotchen is officially the first Division II discus thrower to automatically qualify for the national meet.
Sophomore Chelsea Howard hit a NCAA provisional time with an 11.98 second 100-meter dash. Howard placed second in the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.74 seconds.
Drennan, Smith and Chase all look forward to the rest of the season after coming off a successful first meet.
“The more you train and the harder you train will result in more benefits, as long as you don’t get injured,” Chase said. “The meet was fun, and I’m looking forward to more trips and competitive races. This is my last season as a Bison, and I don’t have too many regrets of my college running career.“
The Bisons ended their weekend with eight top-five finishes, and the Lady Bisons finished with nine top-five finishes. Both teams will compete at the Southern Arkansas Invitational in Magnolia, Arkansas, on Saturday, March 25.