Shockers hold AAC outdoor championships
WICHITA – The Wichita State track and field team will compete in the three-day American Athletic Conference Outdoor Championship on Friday, May 13th until Sunday, 15.5th at the Cessna Stadium.
The Shocker men are tied with Houston in the USTFCCCA conference rankings, with Houston being the favorite to win the championship and the Cincinnati men not far behind in third place. The Cougars have won six of America’s seven outdoor championships to date and are clinching their seventh straight conference indoor win. Wichita State is the 31-point underdog going into the contest, but the Shockers are familiar with the fight to give the Cougars a run for their money.
“We feel we have a really nice men’s team and the boys are looking forward to fighting for a high team result,” said the head coach Steve Rainbolt called. “Houston is always an incredible opponent and will certainly be the favorite on track in this competition. We’re going to come out with an underdog mentality and a chip on our shoulder, ready to fight with a strong fighting spirit to fight as hard as we can to try to win a team title.”
The last time the Shockers hosted the outdoor championship meet in 2019, the team title race ended in the last two events. Wichita State was just a point behind, with only the 5,000 meters and the 4×400-meter relay ahead of them, but ultimately narrowly managed to win their first UK outdoor title.
Houston will bring depth to the sprints, middle distances and vaults as they take the top three spots in the 100-meter dash rankings and half of the points finishes in the 200-meter, 800-meter and 400-meter hurdles -Take the rankings. The Cougars have the conference leaders in the 400-meter, 110-meter hurdles, 400-meter hurdles, 4×100-meter relay, 4×400-meter relay and pole vault.
The Shockers will rely on their versatility, having athletes in goal positions in 19 of the 21 events on the form list and having 11 top-3 marks. Tanner Brown leads the conference in the decathlon with 7,178 points and is a teammate Adria Navajon Fabregat will make his outdoor multi-event debut this weekend as he looks to capitalize on his AAC indoor heptathlon title from earlier this year. Two-time All-American Michael Bryan is looking to win his first outdoor conference hammer throw title after earning all conference honors in 2021 with his runner-up finish and winning the indoor conference weight throw in February. in spear, Taran Taylor is looking for a repeat of 2021 when he threw 68.04m/223-3 to win the title. To round out the conference leaders for the Shockers, Adam Moore holds the top position over 800 meters with a time of 1:50.80.
To beat Houston, the Shockers must top the form charts and move up in multiple events.
“We’re going to move up the form chart, and if we do that often enough, and especially if we take out the right people… that’s a knock in our favor,” Rainbolt said.
In the women’s team standings, the Shocker women moved up to 6th in the conference rankings, with UCF, the 2022 AAC Indoor Champion, heavily favored to win the team championship.
The Shocker women have 10 athletes in the scoring position on the form chart. Amanda Kakoulias leads as the No. 3 shot putter in the conference with a score of 15.45m/50-8.25. in pole vault, Margaux Thompson and Karen Lyvers in fifth and sixth with good chances of a goal and promotion. Lyvers has two consecutive personal best encounters and both athletes have their names on the WSU all-time list. Semaj McGhee Leads the Shockers’ nationally ranked triple jump roster with her No. 5 conference rankings and is also a top scorer in the high jump. Samantha Marx and Kourtni Hubert both go into goal position in the spear and Brianna Utecht and Maria Romero try to score points for the Shockers in the heptathlon with their respective #5 and #8 conference brands.
The men’s hammer and decathlon kick off the conference action on Friday at 12 noon. For the full meeting schedule, see theamerican.org/otf.
OFFERS FOR EVENT COACHS
John Wise – Sprints/hurdles
“We have a few different goals this week. Our men compete to win a championship and our women have a more individual focus as we give some people redshirts and we have some injuries and stuff like that. So for the women, it’s more about seeing if we can get some people into the first round of the NCAA and get some people who haven’t attended that meet or not scored before to score what is important to us. to rebuild this team for years to come. Our goal for our men’s group is to score as many points as possible to help our team win the race. The relays need to have a good weekend and everyone contributes. We’ve got guys in every event that could score in the sprints, which is exciting, but it’s a really good league in the sprints and hurdles so we have to be ready to compete. I think it’ll help being home and we’re getting better, so we’re definitely excited and feeling like we’re ready for our best meeting of the year.”
Kirk Jaeger – distance
“On the men’s side, of course, we’re hoping to climb up the rankings as much as possible and maybe have some champions. I know the guys are also trying to see if they can get some first round qualifiers (NCAA). We have some pretty lofty goals and in our conference that’s difficult to achieve. We have Tulsa and some of the other schools making it very difficult to move up in the standings but definitely on the men’s side we want to try and get some of those big points and help the team hopefully a team championship to reach.
On the women’s side we are looking for improvement, growth and experience. We’ve got two or three girls there that we’re going to try to climb up the ranks and do some things that we hope will surprise the conference and lead us to better things next year. We have some good talent on the women’s side and they’re still young and learning and we hope they can use that as a development tool so next year is even better.”
Heidi Benton – Horizontal jumps
“Super excited about the men’s and women’s horizontal jumpers. We have four boys competing in open long jump/triple jump. I would consider Yuben [Goncalves] kind of a secret weapon we have. He has been training in the jumps all year after recovering from an injury. The last time he competed in the long jump and triple jump was at the outdoor conference championships in Florida last year, so those are good grades that will push him up the rankings, especially in the triple jump. frumpy [Elazarig], in triple jump, has developed well. He’s PRed in this event but I still feel like he has room for improvement and hasn’t reached his potential this year so I’m waiting for nice weather and hopefully not strong winds to see him through. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing him compete. Morgan Conner is a guy who I think is very consistent… and Adria [Navajon] is our fourth and also does multi and hurdles. He did all round indoor running in the park and did well so we’re expecting a repeat from him even if it’s going to be a bit more difficult in the decathlon. It will be fun watching these guys compete.
We’re stronger in the triple jump for women. In which [USTFCCCA] Event Squad Rankings saw us move up to 10th placeth in the nation. I look forward to seeing all these girls compete. In the long jump, hopefully someone can make a good mark and we can get close to the goal. We’re just looking for improvements when we go into the conference meeting. It’s the last meeting for most of them, so we look forward to seeing them improve their grades and placements.”
Johann Hetzendorf – throws
“I’m looking forward to my group. On the boys side, I have two guys who are at the forefront of the conference with spear and hammer Taran Taylor and Michael Bryan. I’m curious to see what the two guys will do in the end. Both guys have a good chance at the national meet and I’m excited to see what they can achieve this weekend. Both events have good competition so it will be fun to watch.
I also have a good group of discus throwers among the men, who are all good in terms of points and throwing. I feel like they’re about to throw further and hopefully we can do it. With all the guys, I’m just excited to see what we’re going to do. For women, I have a group of javelin throwers who can move up the rankings. Amanda Kakoulias in shot put have very good scoring chances and good performances. I just hope we can see some of the potential that we’ve seen in both the men and women and the weather looks like it’s playing along and hopefully the athletes do their part and we get some great achievements.”
Pat Wilson – pole vault
“It’s pretty exciting to see Margaux [Thompson] and Karen [Lyvers] work your way up the all-time list. They are certainly in goal position. The potential for a lot of really good things is there at this event. I’ve seen drills and jumps in encounters from both, suggesting the table is set for something really good. As with anything, you have to pull it off the day it matters. We also have some other vaulters who shouldn’t be counted. If they’re having a good day and things are going well, they can sneak into the standings too.”