Track and field season update

Katherine Bouma, Staff Writer

Throughout this past month, Westmont track and field has made their mark and adapted to the competition for the 2023 season. First-year high-jumper Makai Bruce shared his thoughts on being part of Westmont track and field, saying, “The season is going really well so far as a whole. There has been a lot of improvement and personal bests throughout the team with everyone being very uplifting and encouraging towards each other.”

Last year, the Warriors ranked third of seven at the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) Championships and 13 of 77 collegiate teams at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Outdoor Championships. Earning five all-American honors at this meet, Westmont track and field has high standards to work up to this winter and spring season.

Westmont’s track and field team are having a successful season and hope to keep their winning streak going at NAIA Indoor Nationals. (Noah Nims)

Head coach Russell Smelley expressed the goals that he is holding for his athletes this season. “Since the track and field team is blessed with national caliber athletes and walk-ons with less experience, training is on a continuum of development with the emphasis that each team member can make a contribution at the GSAC Championships in April. The Warriors would like to show well at NAIA Indoor and Outdoor Nationals in this final year of membership. Making a run at the GSAC Championship titles in April is the primary team goal.” 

With approximately 80 athletes on both the women’s and men’s track teams combined, the Warriors have many upcoming and promising competitors. Coach Smelley shared, “Jaiden Rodrigues, Charlotte Williams, McKenna Phillips, Britain Polk and Caitrin Quitevas are leading the way for the women. The men are making improvements led by Ethan Heo, Narindra Rafidimalala, Wade Teel, Ethan Denison and Zander von Stade.” 

The Warriors have already competed in the “On Your Marks” indoor open on Jan. 28 and the “Sunshine” indoor open on Feb. 10 and 11, both hosted on Thorrington Field by Westmont College. The team also made their way down to Irvine to compete in the Soka Indoor Qualifier on Feb. 18. Many athletes have qualified for the NAIA championships already, including Zola Sokhela in the men’s 1000-yard run and Abby Rumohr in women’s pole vault. Copious amounts of Westmont track and field athletes were able to beat personal bests and meet bests at the Sunshine Open.

 The NAIA Indoor Track and Field Championships take place Thursday, March 2 to Saturday, March 4 in Brookings, South Dakota. Go Warriors!

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