WICHITA – Friday was another good day on the oval for the Central Christian College men's and women's track and field teams. The Tigers spent Friday afternoon at Cessna Stadium on the campus of Wichita State University, competing in the Shocker Open.
For the Tigers it was their last scheduled meet of the regular season, the final tune-up for those who have qualified for the NAIA outdoor national championships May 24-26 down in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Friday's meet began with the field events, and for the Tigers that meant the men's long jump and the men's triple jump.
The Tigers got off to a good start, going second, third, and fourth in long jump. Malik Johnson finished runner up in the event, with a jump of 23' 4". Alan Leyva was right behind Johnson in third place with a jump of 22' 11 ¾", and Mark Noel finished in fourth, jumping 22' 4 ¼". In the triple jump, the Tigers recorded two more top five finishes. Johnson bounced back from his runner-up performance in the long jump and took top honors in the triple. He jumped 49' 2 ¼" to best the field and finish atop the podium. Also in the top five was Noel, whose best jump was 42' 10 ¾" which landed him in fourth place.
In the running events, the Tiger women had strong showing in the 100m, 200m, and 400m. Amanda Murray, who will be one of the favorites in the 100m hurdles at NAIA nationals, didn't run the hurdles at WSU, but instead was entered in the 100m dash. He ran a 12.35 in the finals, which landed her on the podium in third place. Senior Hannah Fredrickson had two good races in the 200m and the 400m. She ran a 28.69 in the 200m but finished just outside the top 10, in 11th place. She did however, bounce back in the 400 which is her stronger race. She turned in fast time, 1:01.15, which put her on the podium in second place.
The Tiger men had another strong showing, beginning with the 4x100m relay. The Tiger foursome ran 48.52, but were just edged out for first place by 14 one-hundredths by Wichita State's team. From there it was on to the individual races. In the 100m dash, the Tigers placed four in the top 10, led by Qawtavis Johnson who won the race with a time of 10.47 seconds. Right behind Johnson was teammate Alfred Thomas in second place with a time of 10.58 seconds. Freshmen Blythe Smith and Isaac Bettinger rounded out the top 10 with times of 11.49 and 11.82 to finish in ninth and 10th respectively. In the 200m, it was John Jones' turn to bring home some hardware. He ran a fasts time of 21.79 seconds which put him on the podium in second place.
Central head coach, Mike Anderson commented on the days saying, "Solid day today. For the first time all year it felt like outdoor track season with the weather! Our jumpers jumped well today with Malik Johnson leading the way again with another PR in the triple jump."
He went on to add, "Qawtavis Johnson ran a great 100m race pulling away from the field for a solid win. I feel he is really coming back strong from his injury and ready to run fast. Amanda Murray had a great showing in the 100m for the ladies. Today was a training meet for her. We wanted to work on her speed for the hurdles."
Finally, Coach Anderson reflected on his lone senior on the team Hannah Fredrickson. "Hannah ran two great races in the 200 and 400. She is our only senior and will be graduating this weekend. I cannot say enough great things about her! She has truly been a blessing to this program and we wish her the best in the next chapter of her life. She will always be a Tiger and will always have a family in us!"
The Tigers will spend the next 2 ½ weeks getting ready for the NAIA outdoor national meet. They have qualified 12 individuals and the Tiger men are looking to improve upon their 15th place finish at the indoor national meet back in March.