Herd track and field aim to continue success in outdoor season

After a record breaking indoor season, the Marshall University women’s track and field team looks to continue the success it had in its indoor season to the outdoor season. In the indoor season, the team as a whole finished seventh out of 13 conference teams at the Conference USA Indoor Track and Field Championships. Additionally, nine school records were tied or broken during the indoor season.

Junior Barkley Castro (800 meter and 1000m) and sophomore Adriana Cook (3000m and 5000m) each broke two school records. Senior Andrea Porter broke the record in the 1-mile. The distance medley relay team of Madeline Armstrong, Breanna Hargrove, Barkley Castro, and Andrea Porter broke the school record. Throwers Elena Marchand (shot put) and Hasana Clark (weight throw) each broke a school record. Freshman Safiyyah Mitchell and Danere’a White miraculously both tied the school record in the 300m dash.

“I think that indoor really showed me that I, and the rest of the team, are capable of competing with the top girls in our conference,” Barkley Castro said. “I’m excited to take on some more challenges this outdoor season. We are continuing to get stronger and I think that if we keep working and stay healthy, the success from indoor will carry right over to outdoor.”

Among the most excited for Marshall’s successes was head coach Jeff Small. Small has been the head coach of Marshall cross country/track and field for nearly 20 years now. Over this past indoor season he saw the eight records go down, some of which had been previously held for as long as 14 years.

“After a record setting indoor campaign we are really looking forward to this outdoor season,” Small said. “We had a good period of training since the conference indoor championships which will help us pick up where we left off when we get outside.”

There are several small changes between indoor and outdoor season. While the weight throw is an indoor-only throwing event, the hammer throw takes its place in outdoor track and field. Additionally, the javelin, discus, 400 meter hurdles, steeplechase, 10,000 meter run, and the 4×100 meter relay are regular outdoor events.

One of the most anticipated events for Marshall is the javelin throw. Sophomore Heidi Heiniger finished second last year as a freshman in the javelin in the C-USA Outdoor Championships with a heave of 43.01 meters (141 feet, 1 inch). The team gains graduate transfer Alexis Montes, who competed for West Liberty University and finished seventh last year at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

“[Heiniger and Montes] give us a good opportunity to score more points,” assistant coach for throwing events Travis Coleman said. “These are two kids who can potentially punch a ticket to go to the first round of the NCAA Championships and maybe have a shot of making the finals.”

In last year’s outdoor season, current senior Antonique Butler qualified for the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Championships, the first round of the collegiate track and field championship, in the triple jump. Her personal best mark of 12.76 meters (41 feet 10 inches) was set at the University of North Florida Spring Break Invitational last season.

The team starts its outdoor season at the High Point University Bob Davidson Spring Kick-Off in High Point, North Carolina. Thursday, combined events such as the heptathlon get underway. The majority of events take place on Friday and Saturday. Following the meet, the team will then head to Florida for spring break in Jacksonville, Florida. After a week training in the Florida heat, the team will compete in the UNF Spring Break Invitational.

Patrick O’Leary can be contacted at [email protected]