Written by Nic Fraraccio // Photo provided by Hardingsports.com
The Harding track and field teams broke multiple school records at the Texas Relays in Austin and the Texas State Bobcat Invitational in San Marcos earlier this month.
Both teams are currently ranked in the Division II poll. The men’s team is ranked eighth in the nation, and the women’s team is ranked 22nd.
Freshman Anton Kopytko broke a 55-year-old school record in San Marcos with a long jump of 24 feet, 3.75 inches. The Ukrainian took down David Martin’s record of 24 feet, 2.5 inches set in 1968. Kopytko’s NCAA provisional mark jump ranks eighth in Division II.
Kopytko said it was a great moment to take down the record but wants to stay determined for the rest of the season.
“It was wonderful of course, but I understand that I can do better,” Kopytko said. “I need to progress everyday.”
Freshman Kelmen de Carvalho broke the first record at the Texas Relays after completing the decathlon with a provisional mark total of 6,866 points. Carvalho broke Matt Hipshire’s 2022 school record of 6,562 points. The German native currently leads Division II with the highest score in the men’s decathlon.
Senior Jackson Pruim said he is impressed with the number of records that have already been broken this season.
“I’m very impressed by my teammates and their abilities but also not shocked because these guys have some God-given talent paired with a very good work ethic and drive,” Pruim said.
The Lady Bisons track and field team set their first record of the outdoor season in San Marcos. Freshman Cella Nguema broke Raianne Mason’s 2018 record in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.58 seconds. The French native beat the previous record by .32 seconds and set a provisional mark.
Head coach Don Hood said he expects more records to be broken this season because of the practice and effort his team has put in.
“You never become great by accident,” Hood said. “It’s always intentional. I feel like we are starting to buy into that.”
Both teams will travel to participate in the Rhodes Seven-Way Meet tomorrow in Memphis, Tennessee.
Beginning on May 4, Harding will host the Great American Conference championships at the new Harding track facility.
Pruim said he is excited to host the meet and hopes to see students and faculty at the event.
“We would love to see everyone out there because an opportunity to go back to back as conference champions on your home track doesn’t come often,” Pruim said.