Track & field competes in the rain
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Rain, rain, go away, come again another day. This past weekend, on February 1 and 2, the Sunshine Open took place on Thorrington Field despite rainy conditions. This was the second track meet that Westmont has held this indoor season, and for many track and field athletes, it was a make it or break it meet in order to make it to NAIA Indoor Nationals.
Jackson Nemitz and Marcus Alvarez were two athletes competing in the Heptathlon. The seven events the athletes competed in consisted of 60 meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump, 60 meter hurdles, pole vault, and 1000 meter run. The Sunshine Open was their only chance to qualify for Nationals for NAIA Indoor track and field. Nemitz, a senior on the track team, said, “Having that mental pressure was tough, but the coaching staff is so superb in making sure they help their athletes develop mentally and physically so that we can be relaxed in high pressure meets. I’m really grateful for that.”
On day one of the Heptathlon it was sunny, but on day two the athletes were faced with several inches of rain. Nemitz said, “Day two was challenging, mostly because it was so hard to stay warm. Once you get wet, it gets tougher to keep your core temperature up, so staying dry was challenging, for sure.”
Nemitz and Alvarez are currently receiving bids to go to the National Championship. The top 16 marks advance after the qualifying rounds are finished. Currently, Nemitz stands at fourth place in the NAIA with 4,965 points recorded this past weekend. Alvarez also makes the cut as of now with the 13th best in the NAIA (4,578 points).
For athletes who only competed on Saturday, they were met with conditions that would horrify most athletes. The sand pit for triple jump and long jump was sandy mud. Each step on the track was a puddle of water. But the Warriors competed nonetheless. Nadya Wisham had a provisional qualification for Indoor Nationals with a triple jump of 11.29 meters, placing her in the top five marks in Westmont history.
When asked about the muddy pit, Wisham said, “It hurt a lot more when landing, but it’s one of those days when you already know the weather will suck, so you have to make the best out of it. It was still fun regardless. It’s the event that counts.” Wisham is currently six centimeters from an automatic qualification to Indoor Nationals. Wisham said, “One little adjustment and I should be there, so I’m hopeful. At the end of the day, it’s in God’s hands and it’s who I’m doing it for, win or lose, it’s for Him.”
For Dana Nemitz and Seth Wilmoth, it was also their chance to qualify for the pole vault. Nemitz and Wilmoth both secured first place for Westmont, as Nemitz recorded a mark of 3.52 meters in the women’s and Wilmoth cleared 4.60 meters in the men’s. Nemitz’s jump was an automatic qualification and Wilmoth was a provisional qualification. Bethany Bodine and Amanda Colacchia won their respective events of the women’s 800 meter and women’s mile. Jack Dickinson won the men’s weight throw and men’s shot put.