Both of the Garden City Community College indoor track and field field teams are ranked in the top 20 of the NJCAA, the first time that’s happened since at least 2014.
The Broncbuster women were 15th in Wednesday’s latest rankings, up two spots from the week before, and the men are 19th, up from 20. The college’s full track programs were re-instated in 2014, the most recent year in which the rankings database was not available.
It was discontinued in 2007, meaning it’s likely been upwards of a decade since both programs were ranked in the top 20.
It’s the next sign of the progress the Busters have made over the last few years, now under the guidance of Doug Marshall, who was named head coach in December after three years as an assistant.
And now near the end of the indoor track and field season, Marshall has his team in prime position to make some noise in the NJCAA championships in three weeks in Lubbock, Texas.
“It’s going good. I think we’re definitely headed in the right direction,” Marshall said earlier this week. “The kids have been putting some good performances together. Obviously, we’ve still got a lot of work to do across the board.”
The Busters have already qualified nine men across eight events, plus a 4x400 relay team. The women’s team is even further along, already qualifying 14 athletes in 10 events.
That’s more on both accounts than the Busters were able to manage a year ago, when the men scored just three points in the NJCAA met and the women none.
The team's current rankings suggest a loftier performance this year.
“It’s always good to see (the rankings), to see where everybody’s at and where we’re at,” Marshall said. “But in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t mean a lot. We just kind of use it as a motivator. ‘Keep working your butt off and finish strong.’”
Marshall recently hired an assistant, Colton Coleman, who officially began on Monday. Previously, he was a volunteer sprints assistant at Texas A&M.
“He comes in with a huge amount of knowledge in the sprints, relays and jumps,” Marshall said. “He’s going to be able to help us out a lot.”
The Busters head to the Gorilla Classic in Pittsburg Friday for a two-day meet, prior to competing in the Region VI meet in Manhattan on Feb. 18. The NJCAA indoor meet is set to begin March 2.