Runners and jumpers shine at NCAA shrine

Travis Nelson

Six athletes on the NMU Track and Field team competed in Pittsburgh, Kansas this past weekend for the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. Two ’Cats received All-American honors for their performances at the Championships, while the relay team finished one spot away from All-American status.

“We had a great showing,” head coach Jenny Ryan said. “It was a good experience for the athletes to go against the top athletes in the country.”

Senior Shayla Huebner competed in the 800-meter run for the Wildcats, and finished with a time of 2:10.13 in the preliminary race to qualify for the finals. In the finals, she improved her time up to 2:09.73, as she finished in sixth place and was named First Team All-American.

Senior Michelle Juergen participated in the high jump for NMU, clearing the first two heights of 5 feet, 4 inches and 5 feet, 6 inches respectively. By clearing the second height, Juergen finished in 10th place, thus receiving Second Team All-American honors.

The 4×400 relay team of junior Sydney McPeters, senior Lynsey Collins, senior Paige Dutcher and Huebner competed as well in the National Championships, as they finished in 11th place. Their 11th place was one spot away from All-American honors, and they only finished less than a second behind 10th place.

The team finished in 44th place out of 92 teams with three points, overall it was an impressive showing by the ’Cats who qualified. The team will take a few weeks off from competition to prepare for the beginning of the outdoor season before taking part in the St. Norbert Quad at St. Norbert University on Mar. 30, and Ryan is expecting success from the Wildcats in the spring.

“I think we have a good shot at doing well in the outdoor,” Ryan said. “Everyone’s coming back who did indoor and we also added a few kids from injuries. For a couple of our throwers, their best event is discus, and that’s only outdoor. I think we have some surprises that haven’t been there yet and it should be exciting. I think we can have a good outdoor season also.”