Women’s Track Takes a Change of Pace

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Above photo by Steve Woltman: Senior Kamille Ferguson won the 60-meter dash (7.79) and came in second in the 200-meter dash at the GLCV Indoor Championship.

Sarah Palya, Contributor

A lot has happened in the world of Lewis University athletics over the past few weeks. The recent break provided an opportunity for spring sports to get their first glimpse of competition, while winter sports pushed through to the end of their season.

Track and field, however, is a slightly different story. Spring break simply indicated a slight change in pace for the women’s team. On Friday, Feb. 22 and Saturday, Feb. 23, the Flyers competed against their conference rivals at the GLVC Indoor Championships in Indianapolis, Ind., at the Athletics & Recreation Center.

On the first day of competition, the Flyers placed second overall and took third the following day with 96.5 points, falling to first place Bellarmine (156 points) and second place Indianapolis (141 points).

“We put ourselves in a hole (after making a couple mistakes in the high jump),” head coach Dana Schwarting said. “The team really came back on day two and rallied back into third place, so I was proud of the way they came back.”

The first day of the championships featured mostly preliminary heats that determined which runners would qualify for the final races. Day one was also the time that the jumpers and throwers faced off.

The Flyers started the field events on a high note as sophomore Kayla King leaped 5.56 meters in the long jump finishing as the runner-up. Junior Samantha McGaha placed fourth in the long jump as well with a bound of 5.38 meters. Rounding out LU’s field event performance was Brieanna Ware. The junior placed third in the weighted throw with a toss of 15.67 meters.

With assistance from Alexis Atkin’s 3056-point-collecting pentathlon, Lewis University had racked up 32 points by the end of the first day, just short of the 37 points tallies accumulated by first-place Indianapolis.

The second day displayed the final heats of the sprint events, where senior Kamille Ferguson won the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.79 seconds. Kayla King trailed by only 0.01 of a second, putting her in the runner-up position. Ferguson also ran a 25.22 second 200-meter, which placed her in second for the event. Megan Marchildon finished second as well in the 60-meter hurdles, setting a provisional time of 8.81 seconds.

The combination of Ferguson, King and Marchildon is a dominating force that any opposing team should be intimidated by.

“They definitely are a huge part of the overall team, and when they are competing at their best, it inspires everyone else,” Schwarting said. “But it also acts the opposite if one of them has a bad day.”

After the GLVC championships, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association announced that each member of the trio (Ferguson, King and Marchildon) was selected as part of the USTFCCCA All-Midwest Region team. The Flyers earned this honor for being one of the top five track athletes in individual events.

At the Chicagoland Championships Feb. 8, Ferguson recorded the fastest 200-meter time in the Midwest with a lightning-fast 24.52 seconds. King leaped 5.62 meters at the Lewis Invitational Jan. 18 in the long jump, placing fifth best in the region. Marchildon collected 3,443 points in the pentathlon Feb. 1 at the NCAA Division II Team Challenge, which was the third largest score in the region.

“Kamille, Kayla and Megan are the backbone of our women’s team,” Schwarting said, according to the Lewis Flyers website.

On Tuesday, Feb. 26, the NCAA revealed that junior Megan Marchildon had qualified for the Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships in the pentathlon. For those unfamiliar with track and field terminology, a pentathlon is a contest featuring five separate events.

In the NCAA, the events include: 60-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and an 800-meter run. Each competitor is awarded a certain amount of points based on his or her performance at each event. After all five events are completed, the athlete with the highest total of points wins.

Although this was Marchildon’s second-straight year qualifying to this level in this event, Megan still went through serious challenges during preparation for the championship.

“She hurt her ankle the week before and had to take the week leading up to the meet off to let it heal,” Schwarting said. “Track and field is 90 percent confidence, and confidence is built by practice.”

Despite this setback, however, Megan placed 14th overall in the pentathlon with a total of 3,284 points.

With the indoor season propelling them forward, the team is setting its sights on the outdoor season. The Flyers return to action March 29 at the Wash U Invitational in St. Louis, Mo.

Coach Scwarting said the team’s goal for the outdoor season is first and foremost to win the GLVC.

“We would love to bounce back and get that done,” he continued. “We need the weather to cooperate so we can begin planning.”

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