Track and Field smash school records at Doug Raymond National Qualifiers

Last weekend, the West Liberty men’s and women’s track and field teams traveled to Kent State University in Ohio to compete in the Doug Raymond National Qualifier meet. The team had a successful two days as the squad saw several new personal and school records set.

West Liberty’s long distance star, Hannah Kemp, set the tone by destroying her own school record for the indoor mile by 10 seconds, clocking in with a time of 5:10.96. Hailey Carreon followed suit in the 200-meter sprint, breaking her own previously held school record. She holds a spot in the top ten for 200-meter times in the Mountain East Conference this spring. In the 60-meter hurdles, Mikihi Anderson also broke the previous school record by a tenth of a second, earning himself the third fastest time in the MEC so far this season.

Success also came for the team in the relay events. The women’s 4×400 squad finished fifth in the conference with a time of 4:21.81 while the men finished with the fourth fastest time in the conference with a time of 3:31.32.

The track and field also claimed strong positions in the women’s high jump and pole vault events. Aubree Story cleared 1.55-meters in the high jump, placing her in the MEC this spring. In the women’s pole vault, the Hilltoppers claimed three of the top five spots in the MEC with Olivia Miler sitting in third, Olivia Combs in fourth and Mackenzie Rine in fifth.

The men’s side also had some significant success. Reese Burnside also came out strong in the men’s pole vault, clearing 4.50-meters, enough to put him second in the conference this spring. Danah Phillips also did enough to earn fifth place in the MEC in the 800-meters with a sub-two-minute time of 1:58.85.

Success came at the individual level for several athletes with multiple beating personal records and achieving career highs. Zayne Brakeall, a senior multi-event athlete, achieved personal records in several events including the 60-meter hurdles, 200-meter dash, 4×400-meter relay and the shot put. “I PR’d in all my events creating some great times going into the conference,” said Brakeall. “The atmosphere at Kent State is always great. We always have a great meet with a bunch of athletes PR-ing in their races. Plus, it’s always great competition with a lot of Division I athletes.”

Brenden Sands, a junior distance runner, also achieved a new personal record in the 3000-meter event for the second time this spring. Sands improved his time to 8:45 at the Kent State meet, enough to qualify for the indoor conference championship. “Every weekend this season, I have seen distance runners in the MEC run really fast times, and I wanted to be part of that group,” said Sands. “I still have a long way to go, but with my team and coach, I feel that I can truly be competitive if I remain focused.”

In a tweet regarding Sands, Head Coach Justin Simpson said, “This man exemplifies work ethic and the drive to improve never waivers in his training. Unbelievable job.”

The drive and effort from Brakeall and Sands is a personification of the work ethic of the team as a whole. Sands said, “Throughout this short indoor season, I’ve witnessed the team display their hard work and dedication with every opportunity we’ve had to compete, and I have no doubts about our preparation for Conference next weekend.”

The MEC Indoor Championship meet is set for Feb. 28 and 29 in Huntington, W.Va.. Check out Hilltopper Sports for more information.