Kearney, Neb. – The Nebraska-Kearney track and field team had a very busy weekend, competing at the Kansas Relays, the Bryan Clay Invitational in Southern California and the Jim Dutcher Memorial in Crete. The majority of the Loper squad was at Doane Sunday for the Dutcher; due to weather the two-day meet was pushed back a full day. From Thursday-Saturday, select UNK athletes were in Lawrence with four distant runners taking part in the large Bryan Clay Invite at Division II Azusa Pacific. Note at KU UNK took part in “unseeded” running events and “collegiate” field events. Putting their names on the NCAA provisional list were Ord junior Andrew Fields and Deweese sophomore Corbin Hansen in the steeplechase. Just two of 100 runners taking part, Fields ran a 9:08.56 to finish 27th with Hansen 12 spots back thanks to a 9:14.98.
Fields time is three seconds off his career best, which ranks fifth in Loper history, while Hansen joins the all-time top 10 (10th). Also late Friday night in California, in a field of 271 runners, Lincoln sophomore Nate Pierce ran a 3:52.65 to place 151st overall in the 1,500. On the women’s side, Auburn senior Melissa Davison was 126th out of 293 thanks to a career-low 4:36.47. On UNK’s all-time list, Pierce vaults up seven spots to third; only Cole Wellnitz (3:47.64/’17) and Tom Magnuson (3:52.20/’94) have better efforts. Finally, Davison remains in fifth place on the women’s all-time list. Highlights at KU included Colorado junior Micheala Hoffman qualifying for the 400 hurdle finals (7th/1:03.88), Imperial freshman Destiny Reinke second out of 33 in the 1,500 (4:44.94), Blair senior Molly Dibben fourth in a field of 18 in the steeple (11:21.02) and Elm Creek junior Jacob Bartling runner up in the shot (55-7.75) and third in the discus (162-4).
Finally, UNK had three in the top six of the women’s shot, led by Nelson senior Holly Bower (4th/44-6.75). At the annual Jim Dutcher, the Lopers won three women’s and two men’s events. That group included Hoffman (100 hurdles/14.53), Fairfield senior pole vaulter Bailey Stapleman (16-0.75), Holdrege freshman pole vaulter Baylie Bryant (11-7.75), Oklahoma sophomore Cassidy McIntire (100 meters/12.44) and Papillion freshman Tyler Williams (1,500/4:08.24). UNK is at the annual Prairie Wolfe Invitational Thursday at Nebraska Wesleyan with qualifying Lopers heading to Iowa for the Drake Relays Thursday-Saturday.