Bluejays set six school records at conference meet


Jessica Burden clips the bar on her second-to-last attempt at the 3.05 meters height in the women?s pole vault at the KCAC track meet. Burden finished second in the event, but won a conference title in the women?s 100 meter hurdles.

With four conference championships and 14 all-conference performers, the Tabor College women?s track team placed second to Southwestern at the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference meet Friday and Saturday in McPherson.

Jessica Burden earned conference titles both in the 100 hurdles and as a member of the winning 4×100 relay?and would have won the pole vault if not for McPherson?s Rachel Leuthold, who set a new meet record in that event. Burden?s pole vault of 9-61⁄4 is one of six new school records set Saturday.

The winning 4×100 relay consisted of Kayla Gershon, Burden, Becca Liebe and Tasia Johnson. Johnson placed second in both long jump and triple jump. Her 18-3 long jump mark is a school record.

Kelli Kopper placed first in the 200 meter dash and second in the 400. Kopper?s 400 meter time of 58.23 snapped the previous school record.

Breanna Wray claimed the conference title in the women?s hammer throw.

The Bluejays? other all-conference performers were Christina Addison in the 5,000 and 10,000 meter runs, Erin Vance in the 400 meter hurdles, and Estey Wichert in the hammer throw.

Addison?s 19:26.84 in the 5,000 set the school record.

The 4×400 (Vance, Chelsea Malone, Burden and Kopper) and 4×800 (Liz Kleinsasser, Vance, Julia Carlton and Kopper) both earned all-conference honors.

The women?s team?s all-KCAC honorable mention performances were: Burden, 400 hurdles and long jump; Gershon, 100 meter dash; Johnson, high jump; Liebe, 400 hurdles; Malone, triple jump; Megan McCarty, hammer throw; Jera Tesselle, 10,000; Samantha Van Ranken, hammer throw and javelin; ShaRae Wadel, 400 hurdles, and Wray, shot put.

?Several Tabor senior women ended their track careers on a high note,? coach Dave Kroeker said. ?I was really pleased for both of them; Bre (Wray) because it was her first conference title and she has worked so hard and Estey (Wichert) because she has battled a bad back all season and after four years of hard work finished her career as an all-KCAC hammer thrower.?

As a team, the Tabor women scored 146 points, trailing Southwestern?s 164 by 18. The Bluejays finished ahead of Bethany (99.5), Bethel (80), Friends (49.5), Ottawa (44.5), Sterling 39, McPherson 17 and Kansas Wesleyan 10.

The Tabor men placed fifth with 57 points, behind Southwestern (181), Bethel (126), Friends (82) and Ottawa (63), and ahead of Bethany (55), McPherson (41), Sterling (29) and Kansas Wesleyan (16).

Justin Ball won the 800 meter dash title with a time of 1:54.05 and boosted the 4×800 relay team into second place.

?He beat the 3-time defending champion Aric Cherry from Southwestern on Saturday,? Kroeker said. ?He has been waiting for a good day and good competition to really run a great time and he ran a very smart race for the win. Justin also qualified for the NAIA Outdoor Championships with his effort.?

Silas Hibbs repeated as conference champion in the pole vault, and Mike Rousell placed first in the triple jump and tied for second in the high jump. Rousell?s triple jump upped the school record to 47-113⁄4.

Men?s honorable mention performances were recorded by Tristan Burrow, hammer; Drew Crosson, 110 meter hurdles; Zach Gould, 10,000 meter run; Brad Kiser, triple jump; Rousell, long jump; Richard Snyder, discus and Jordan Stahl, 100 meter dash.

Gould?s 10,000 meter time of 35:11.19 is a new school record.

?We were a little short handed on the men?s team this season but the guys that competed made a great effort and for that I am pleased and proud,? Kroeker said.

Coming?The NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Championships will be May 21-23 in St. Louis, MO. This week, Tabor athletes will attempt to qualify for nationals in several ?last chance? meets. Tabor?s national qualifiers include: Addison (marathon), Ball (800), Gould (marathon), Johnson (long jump), Rousell (triple jump) and Wray (hammer, shot put).

?Kelli Kopper is really close in the 400 and Jessica Burden is very close in the 100 meter hurdles,? Kroeker said.

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