Track And Field Set For MVC Championship Meet
The championship portion of the Drake University track and field team’s indoor season begins this weekend as the Bulldogs head to Cedar Falls, Iowa, to compete in the Missouri Valley Conference Championship.
Coming off a strong performance last week at the Iowa Invite, the Bulldogs head into this weekend’s meet with high hopes of top finishes and personal bests.
“This is really the main focus for all our fall training,” said Drake head coach Natasha Kaiser-Brown. “All our preparation for the indoor season – all the meets that we’ve gone to are geared up for this event. So hopefully everything is clicking with health and training and then this will be the week that we’ll see some PRs.”
Several Drake athletes, from both the men’s and women’s teams, enter the MVC Championship ranked in the top 20 in their events with the possibility of scoring at the meet. Senior Brogan Austin (Boone, Iowa) heads to Cedar Falls and the UNI-Dome track ranked second in the 5,000-meters and third in the 3,000-meters. Rob McCann (Mississauga, Ontario) is also set for a successful meet, entering his races ranked seventh in the 3,000-meters and 11th in the mile.
“They’ve been kind of going back and forth performing well,” Kaiser-Brown said of Austin and McCann. “Brogan might have a chance in the 5,000 to make NCAAs. He’d have to perform really well, which he’s capable of doing.”
On the women’s side, Danyelle Cole (Kansas City, Kan.) and Tiara Winston (Denton, Texas) lead the pack, both ranked ninth in the 60-meters and 16th and 10th in the 200-meters, respectively. High jumpers Ryan Cook (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Jaclyn Aremka (Plainfield, Ill.) are also on track for successful performances, both ranked in the top 10 heading into this weekend.
Drake’s teams have competed countless times at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, where the MVC Championship meet is being held. Kaiser-Brown referred to it as “almost like our second home,” and said the familiarity with the facility helps eliminate some of the stress. The challenge, she said, comes in getting each and every Drake athlete to perform his or her best on the same day.
“We can actually perform pretty well if the athletes line up and deliver,” she said. “So that’s the challenge is how to get 17 men and about the same number of women all performing at their best on their day. We’ve had some good stuff, and hopefully some of that great stuff is still to come.”
The MVC Indoor Championship meet begins Saturday, March 1 at 9:30 a.m. with multi-events, followed by field events starting at 1:15 p.m. and track events at 3:30. Preliminary races and events take place on Saturday with finals races on Sunday.
The MVC also released the league’s pre-championship poll on Thursday with the league’s coaches projecting Indiana State as the pre-championship favorites. The Drake men’s team was projected to finish seventh in the seven-team field while the women were tabbed eighth of nine teams,
Men's MVC Indoor Track and Field Pre-Championship Poll
1. Indiana State (5), 46 pts.
2. Wichita State (1), 42 pts.
3. Loyola, 33 pts..
4. Southern Illinois (1), 27 pts.
5. Illinois State, 24 pts.
6. UNI, 16 pts.
7. Drake, 8 pts.
Women's MVC Indoor Track and Field Pre-Championship Poll
1. Indiana State (4), 75 pts.
2. Southern Illinois (2), 71 pts.
3. Wichita State (3), 65 pts.
4. Illinois State, 48 pts.
5. Loyola, 46 pts.
6. UNI, 38 pts.
7. Missouri State, 31 pts.
8. Drake, 16 pts.
9. Bradley, 15 pts.