More than 20 different Webster University men’s and women’s indoor track and field records were broken this season — and there’s still one more meet.
Coach Kelly Parsley’s goal for this season was to break the Webster record in every event that there was a willing participant. Shot put is the only event absent of an athlete.
“After this weekend, we will have all the records,” Parsley said. “Except for probably one that we weren’t able to participate in during this year.”
The most significant of those record breakers is sophomore Jenny Howard. After last week’s first-place time of 8.03 seconds in the 60-meter dash, she became the first runner in Webster history to win first place in an event in back-to-back weeks. She finished first again at the DePauw Indoor Invitational in Greencastle, Ind., on Saturday, Feb. 9 hosted by DePauw University.
The women’s team finished 11th overall out of 18 teams while the men’s team finished 14th of 20.
“I know (Howard) had a decent year last year, but she had battled some injuries last year,” Parsley said. “I was expecting her to do well this year and I think she’s going to get faster.”
Webster ran against schools in NCAA Division II and NAIA competition this past week. And next week, Howard’s competition in the 60-meter dash won’t get any easier.
Illinois College’s Missy Norville is a national champion in four different events. She holds Illinois College’s record for the 55-meter dash for a run of 7.44 in 2011. This season, Norville’s fastest time in the 60-meter dash is 8.09 which she ran on Feb. 9 at a meet in Monmouth, Ill.
“I’ve never ran against (Norville), but I really want to,” Howard said. “She is fast and when you run against good competition, you run faster, and that’s what I’m hoping to do.”
Howard said success in the 60-meter should shorten her times in the 100 and 200-meter dash for outdoor competition.
The Gorlok men finished 14th out of 20 schools, and the women ended up 11 out of 15 schools.
Parsley said he is looking for one more indoor meet before the outdoor season gets started on March 16 at the CMU Open hosted by Central Methodist University in Fayette, Mo.
The biggest blow to the Webster track and field teams this season hit in their long distance events.
Both of the top runners on the men’s and women’s cross-country teams, senior Ethan Jeffries and junior Heather Heisse, haven’t competed all track season due to injuries.
Parsley said Jeffries has been through therapy to repair his iliotibial band, “a muscle that runs along the outside of the thigh and connects the pelvis to the knee,” according to WebMD. Parsley said he expects Jeffries to be back sometime during the spring season.
Heisse however, is not likely to return this year due to pulmonary embolism, “a small blood clot in a major artery leading to the lung,” according to WebMD, in both of her lungs. Parsley said she is taking medication, and physicians have advised her to not compete while on the medication.
Both teams overcame the absence of those runners and placed in the top five in both the men’s 1,000-meter run and women’s 1-mile run. Freshman Charles Whitehead finished fifth with a time of 2:44.97 and junior Eroica Stackhouse also placed fifth finishing in 5:45.28.
As the indoor season ends and outdoor competition nears, Parsley is looking for even more record-breaking performances.
“Some of our records not only broke the indoor, but also the outdoor records as well, which is really tough to do,” Parsley said.
Parsley is also hoping to add a few runners and jumpers to his roster in the spring after the Webster basketball teams wrap up their seasons. Parsley said he has had his eye on a few men and women basketball players who could be featured in the high jump along with other events.
The next scheduled meet for the track and field teams is the Illinois College Alumni Classic hosted by Illinois College in Jacksonville, Ill., on Friday, Feb. 15 at 6 p.m.