The men’s and women’s track and field teams competed at the Little Rock Open on Saturday, April 7 with a reduced roster after head coach Steve Guymon made the meet optional to avoid potential injuries.
The women won three field events, including freshman Liz Fouts’ discus win at 40.02 meters, sophomore Jenni Nadeau’s javelin throw win at 35.97 meters and freshman Cara Mason hammer win at 41.78 meters.
Meanwhile, the men scored two victories in field events. Junior Tru Pierce won the hammer at 38.54 meters and freshman Matthew Hipshire won the pole vault at 3.50 meters. Only freshman Addison Roberts brought home a track win with his time of 56.99 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles.
Roberts said he was pleased with his performance, as his primary goal in the hurdles competition was to gain experience and improve his times.
“It definitely was freezing. The meet before that was also very cold so if anything, the last meet actually prepared me for this meet,” Roberts said. “I decided to go because I needed to work on hurdles. We have a big conference week coming up so this will prepare me in case (it) rain(s) or gets really cold.”
The lower temperatures pushed back the starting time of the events at the University of Arkansas. Field events were scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., and track events at 11 a.m., but were rescheduled for 2 p.m.
Nadeau said the delayed start times caused frustration for her and the other athletes as they waited to compete. Even though the meet was optional, Nadeau said she saw an opportunity to improve her performance.
“I think right now I am just competing against myself. It is not really the ‘getting-first-place title’ that I am (worried) about, it is more like getting a better personal record,” Nadeau said.
Guymon said he will probably take a reduced roster to the UCA open as well, which he referred as a “tune-up.” He added that he has his sights on the GAC Championship tournament, which is only a week away.
“We are in a tight battle in conference with a couple of other teams, and we cannot afford any injuries,” Guymon said. “We are preparing for next weekend, that is what we are focused on. Everything we do is a preparation to get to that point.”
The men’s and women’s track and field teams will travel to Conway to compete at the UCA Open today at 10 a.m. This will be the last competition before the GAC Championship tournament on April 19 in Magnolia, Arkansas.