The Mines Men’s and Women’s Track and Field teams sent participants to three different invitationals in Colorado and California last week as Oredigger athletes turned in arguably the most successful and impressive week in recent history.
In Walnut, California, in one of the most competitive and prestigious meets in the country, the distance runners highlighted the meet for the Orediggers as they competed against the very best collegiate athletes in the nation.
Fifth year senior Mack McLain ran the fastest time in Division II as he finished tenth overall in the men’s 1500m in 3:46.57. McLain now holds a slim, one second advantage over RMAC rivals Matt Daniels and David Sanchez from Adams State College.
Close behind McLain in the 1500, junior Russell Drummond also set a provisional mark, running his best time of the year, finishing in 3:49.70 for the fourth best time in the RMAC and ninth best in all of Division II this year.
Also at the meet, Sean Gildea turned in a strong performance, recording the eighth fastest DII time in the 10,000m (29:37.40) and recording a provisional mark in the 5,000m (14:17.48) Teammate Phil Schneider followed suit in his heat of the 5,000m, finishing second in the heat, and earning a provisional mark with a time of 29:53.97.
And the Lady Orediggers continued with the impressive California performance, as both Hannah Schuster and Marie Patton had provisional times in their events. Schuster finished the 1500m in an incredible 4:34.06, earning the provisional mark and recording the second best 1500m time in the RMAC this year, less than half a second behind leader Kristen McGlynn of Adams State.
For Patton, her time of 10:57.83 was good enough to earn the senior a provisional mark in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase.
After racing at Mt. SAC Friday, many of the Oredigger distance runners turned right around and competed at the Bryan Clay Azusa Pacific Invitational in Azusa, California just outside of Los Angeles. But if the Orediggers were worn out from their California road trip, it didn’t show at in Azusa. Two Orediggers turned in first place finishes and two earned provisional marks.
A day after finishing fourth in the 1500m, Drummond won the 800m in 1:51.44, giving him the fourth fastest time in the RMAC and eighth overall in the nation. In the men’s 3,000m steeplechase, Neal Anderson provisionaled with a time of 9:08.44.
Closing out the California trip, Andrew Epperson placed first in the 5,000m in 14:36.63.
The performances in California were plenty to call the weekend a success, but the field event competitors felt they had something to prove as well, as they highlighted the weekend at the Western State Invite in Gunnison, Colorado.
Fifteen different athletes placed in the top five in their events, including Briana Suppes who set a provisional mark and a new school record in the women’s pole vault as she cleared 12-00.00 on her second attempt, giving her the highest mark in the RMAC.
Cody Walega put up the highest collegiate mark in the men’s pole vault, finishing in second after he cleared 13-05.25. Walega currently sits in fourth overall in the RMAC in the pole vault.
In the throwing events, Mines dominated the hammer competition as Ryan Ewen set a season best mark, throwing for 167-06, earning second overall and moving into sixth place in the RMAC. Teammate Chris McFee came in third with a toss of 166-09 while freshman Austin Roup came in fifth with a throw of 156-10. McFee currently sits fourth in the RMAC and Roup moved into ninth.
In the running events at Gunnison, Garrett Hoch came in second in the 400m in (49.54) while Ryan Marshall came in sixth in 50.84.