The Mustangs opened their 2011 Track season Saturday at the Rossi Relays at the Claremont Colleges in Claremont, CA. Competing in what was, for many teams, the final meet of the regular indoor season, the Master's distance team used the event as a low key "get your feet wet" introduction to this year's outdoor campaign. The "introduction" was a good warm up event for both teams to put up solid numbers, showing great promise for the outdoor season.
To start the day, both the TMC men's and women's squads competed in the Distance Medley Relay (DMR), a race comprised of 1200m, 400m, 800m, and 1600m legs in order.
The women's team had a superb showing in their team event. Hannah Kellerman carried the lead leg, running a 3:49 split for her 1200m, putting the Lady Mustangs in a great position at the start of the race. Kellerman was followed by a 60 second 400m from Caitlyn Ramirez, and a 2:32 800m by Ayla Draper. Hayley Parkinson ran the 1600m anchor leg, setting a personal record in the process, with a time of 5:20. Although TMC does not currently sponsor Indoor Track and Field, the women's total time for the DMR (12:44) was just 3 seconds off of the qualifying standard for the NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships. Coach Schroeder comments, "Our women aren't training to race the DMR-- certainly, had the women spent even a little time working on hand-offs they would have been able to post a qualifying mark. The exciting thing about all of this is that none of the distances run today are the focus events for these girls--so today's efforts were run having done very little speed work at this point in the season. Today's finish is just a reflection of our root speed and base fitness…" To finish the DMR with such competitive results bodes well for a Lady Mustang team that is looking to break new ground in the outdoor track season.
The Master's men's DMR team was comprised of Anthony Pizzo (1200m), Nathan Seyler (400m), Matthew Crichton (800m) and Paul Jesson (1600m) in order. Though the team finish was an average outing, Anthony Pizzo ran a tremendous first leg, racing 3:12 for 1200m. Coach Schroeder was pleased saying, "On both the men's and women's sides, the highlight of the DRM's was our 1200m legs; Kellerman and Pizzo surpassed my expectations. It was exciting to see these two get out there and race down their competition. We can't wait to really open up our season in the 5k at Ben Brown."
Following the DMR, the majority of TMC's distance team also competed in the 3000m race, which took place late afternoon on Saturday. Haley Parkinson completed a day of fantastic racing by following up her PR in the 1600 in the DMR with a new PR and school record in the 3000m, posting a 10:34 for the distance. Parkinson's not so low-key day proved she's ready for the outdoor season to come. Coach Schroeder commented, "This effort tells me Parkinson is ready to go qualify for nationals in the 5000m this Saturday at Ben Brown. She's been training like a champion all winter long, and it shows."
The Mustang's now look ahead to competing at the Ben Brown Invitational at Cal State Fullerton Saturday, March 5th. With many of TMC's distance squad chasing down their first opportunity to qualify for the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the 5000m, it should be a day of many exciting performances.