Cougars finish season in stride
After sending 10 athletes to the national championship, the Cougars track and field season has come to a close. Although some athletes fell short of their goals the Cougars did not come away empty-handed.
The women’s 4×100-meter relay team fulfilled head coach Leroy Burrell’s prediction that they could be competitive at the NCAA meet. In the preliminaries the team broke the school record with a 43.68 second split. In the finals they finished in 44.24, good for fifth place.
Burrell said he was satisfied with the result but will look for an improved performance next season.
“Had we run our best we probably would have placed second. We feel like we have a unit that can compete with anybody and the results have proven that,” Burrell said.
“If you look at it the athletes are probably top 20 in their individual events but when they perform together they’re a top five squad. That says a lot about the team aspect.”
In the women’s 200-meter dash Christie Jones ran a time of 23.8, Kalyn Floyd followed behind in 23.96 seconds, good for 15th and 18th place respectively.
The men’s 4×100-meter relay team posted a 40.67 second time putting them in 18th overall. The relay consisted of Isaiah Sweeney, Tyron Carrier, Joseph Irabor and Errol Nolan.
Errol Nolan ran a 47.48 in the 400-meter and did not get past the preliminary stage. Although Nolan fell short of his goal of reaching the finals he is one of two Cougars whose season will continue.
“I think Errol had a great year. All in all it’s been a really successful campaign for him. He’s not done yet,” Burrell said.
Nolan is ranked second in the world in the 400 for runners under 19, and has a chance to qualify for the U.S. team for the World Junior Championships. Christie Jones will join him next week at the World Junior Trials.
Chris Carter was dealing with a nagging heel injury but was inches away from scoring points. He finished 19th with a jump of 49 feet, 5 inches.
Wesley Bray earned 12th in the decathlon compiling 7285 points. Burrell said Bray could do better but competing at the meet should be a positive experience.
“Wes didn’t have a very good day. I feel like he should have finished in the top 10 and made All-American.”
As the Cougars offseason begins Burrell said the priority is to take some time off to rejuvenate the athletes and then bulk up.
“First things first, we need to give them a little rest and time to heal and recover from the year. Then we’ll work on strength, try to put on a little weight in the weight room before fall training,” Burrell said.