The SPU track & field team walked onto the purple-topped track at the University of Washington with just about four weeks to go until the GNAC Championships. They had been performing well…
But they showed that they still have much left — and much to prove.
SPU had three Falcons bring home new personal bests — seniors McKayla Fricker in the 400-meter run and Kishia Mitchell in the 200 and freshman Kyra Brannan in the 100.
“I think they are improving,” head coach Karl Lerum said. “[We are getting ready to] peak at the end of the year, especially for the regional and national meets.”
One of the main reason the Falcons did so well, as the athletes will tell you, is that they didn’t have to spend days in the air and on the road in order to get to the meet — it was just across town at Husky Track.
“It’s nice for the ones of us who have to travel a lot,” Fricker said. “[I got to] sleep in my own bed and do my own thing, then get up and drive over to the meet when I needed to. Not having to go through the travel day helps.”
Fricker, who usually runs anchor of SPU’s nationally contending 4×400 relay team, set a career high in the 400 with a time of 55.95 seconds — almost an entire second faster than her previous best at 56.88 that she set back in May of 2012. She also won the event.
It was an exciting moment for her because she knows that is probably the last chance that she will have to run that race in her collegiate career.
“That’s the last time I will probably run the open 400,” Fricker said. “It’s exciting because it boosts my confidence and lets me know that I can run faster [in the 4x400].”
Kishia Mitchell was another SPU athlete that set a new personal record, this time in the 200 with the time of 24.76 seconds — that was good enough for second place in that race.
Noticing a trend? The sprinters for SPU were definitely the ones that were shining during this meet.
Also, the sprinting section of the Falcons’ track team is made up of seniors.
“We have our most senior people in the sprints,” Lerum said. “They have been around a while and are [made up] of talented people.”
However, not everyone is a senior on the sprinting squad. The last athlete who set a PR in the sprints was just a freshman, which makes the achievement that much more impressive.
That runner was Brannan, who set a time of 12.54 seconds and took fourth place in the meet, beating her old time of 12.75 seconds that she set just a week earlier at the Stanford Invitational Meet in California.
“I think [the younger athletes] should be getting excited,” Fricker said. “[We have] a big freshman group and they have potential and are realizing it. I feel like they are starting to realize that they are going to go somewhere.”
However the senior leadership does help, and it can be argued that this helped set so many personal records for the team this week.
“The younger athletes are looking up to [the older racers],” Fricker said. “They are going to be great; they are determined.”
One thing is for certain — when the SPU track & field team stepped off the purple rubber that is the Husky Track, they knew they had just used everything they had in their arsenal: The senior leadership, the up-and-comers and the determination — to get a boost that will give them some boosts toward the end of the track season.