Heading into the Region VI Track and Field Championships in Hutchinson, Garden City Community College has just four individuals qualified for the NJCAA Championships, along with one relay team.
The Broncbusters are hoping for a few more Friday as most of the events get off the starting block at Gowans Stadium.
“We’re definitely looking for some more,” head coach Doug Marshall said. “Weather has kind of been tough on us this season — a lot of adversity — but I think this weekend is going to be a good one for us.”
Thursday opened with the multi events; though, GCCC’s Denim Rogers — who won the NJCAA indoor heptathlon title — was not competing in the outdoor decathlon due to a nagging hamstring injury.
“Hamstrings are really tricky. They can be three weeks or it can be three months,” Marshall said. “Unfortunately, his has been the latter. It’s kind of been frustrating, but we just want him to be healthy for the next stage of his career.”
So the focus turns to Friday and Saturday, when a plethora of Busters look to shave a bit a time off their run or clear a few more inches on their throws, jumps or vaults in order to qualify for the NJCAA Championships at Butler Community College in El Dorado on May 17 to 19.
“On the sprint side, we have a couple of kids we want to see what they can do in better weather,” Marshall said.
Johnathan Smith is just five-hundredths of a second off the qualifying standard of 10.64 in the 100-meter dash, and then .7 seconds off in the 200.
For the women, Kolby Ganther is .2 seconds off the standard in the 100 and less than a second off in the 200. Deidre Smith is not too far off in both events, as well, and Shiseido Robinson is just behind them in the 200.
Kaylee Line, a Lakin product, has already qualified in the high jump, clearing 5 feet, 5 1/4 inches at the Emporia Stage Relays on March 31, but Marshall said she’s gunning for a top spot in the region, just an inch behind the best high jumper in Region VI.
The women also already qualified a 4x100 relay team in Emporia, as well.
Morgan Henderson is just five inches short on qualifying in the long jump.
The men’s side has three already qualified, in pole vaulters Brian Rodriguez and Ruben Huerta, both former Garden City High School standouts, whom each hit 14-07.5 vaults this season. David Enns has also qualified in the javelin, unleashing a 180-08 toss in Emporia on March 31.
Dewayne Reed is just one inch short of a qualifying mark in the long jump for the men, as well.
But all of the qualifying will take care of itself, if the athletes just compete hard, Marshall said.
“Right now, we just want to have kids go out and compete really hard and move up (in the region standings), score some points they weren’t supposed to score,” he said. “Finish better than what they were ranked.”
The field events begin at 4 p.m. Friday, with javelin, hammer throw and long jump for both men and women. Track events begin at 5 p.m. with the 4x800 relay final, then preliminaries for the short sprints and hurdles, and ending with the 10,000 meters final.
Saturday gets going at 10 a.m. with the rest of the field events and the finals for all running events.