Track & Field begins outdoor season

Nate Bellville

The Northern Michigan University Women’s Track and Field squad is moving outside and beginning the outdoor track season. The Wildcats competed over the weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina in the Raleigh Relays. Hosted by North Carolina State University the meet was one of the biggest track and field invitationals on the East Coast.

Five Wildcats medaled in their respective events; three of them would go on to be medaled in the top 10. Seniors Samanthia Johnson and Jasmine Williams  finished ninth and 10th in Friday’s discus throw event, while junior Ine Mylle also placed ninth in Saturday’s triple jump event.

Mylle said she was motivated to make the finals in her event in the invite.

“Beforehand, I told myself that I would make finals, and I did by finishing seventh to make the finals,” Mylle said.

In addition to her teammates’ top 10 performances, sophomore Shayla Huebner and senior Avadon James each placed inside the top 20. Huebner placed 15th in the 400-meter dash with a time of 56.17, while James finished 14th in the 200-meter dash clocking in at 25.7 seconds.

Head coach Jenny Ryan was pleased that a few athletes took home honors during the event.

“The team competed well, even though it was a smaller group because the meet was at such a high level,” Ryan said. “I think we had three of them hit their NCAA provisional marks and two of them got top 10 honors. Overall, all six had good results there.”

During the winter, the team had  a successful season indoors as well. In all of their meets during that span, the Wildcats finished in the top ten or better. Despite a couple events not keeping score, NMU won their only home meet of the season at the Northern Challenge at the Superior Dome.

NMU’s full track and field team is expected to be ready in time as they continue their season on the road.

One person who was eager to come back onto the team is junior Jessica Kushner, who missed all of last season due to injuries.

“It’s gonna be exciting, since it’s been a while since I’ve thrown javelin,” Kushner said.

Kushner added that warmer weather coming in the spring will help her get used to helping her compete well her events.

“Honestly with the weather and overall surfaces, I see this as being a good transition,” Kushner said. “It’ll be a nice early spring season especially for the outside track events.”

Ryan said that the meet should be better especially with having the weather cooperating and having to compete as a full team.

“It’ll be a good start to see us as a whole team compete outdoors and such,”  Ryan said. “It looks like it’s suppose to have great weather, but where at times it could get cold and windy as well.”

Ryan also mentioned that the transition has gone smoothly based on the events from being in an arena to an outdoor setting.

“It’s always interesting,” Ryan said. “There are also some events that are competed outside that we haven’t competed inside, so we get to see how we are doing within those areas.”

They will compete at the Viking Olympics from March 31 through April 1 in Rock Island, Illinois.