The Webster University men’s and women’s track and field teams continued their record-breaking ways in the Illinois College Alumni Classic held Feb. 15 in Jacksonville, Ill. Coming into the meet, the Gorloks had already broken more than 20 program records this season. At the last indoor meet of the season, they broke 10 more.
Junior Julie Greenough broke the Webster record by 14 seconds in the 1,000-meter run with a time of 3:31.09, which was good for fourth place in the event. In the distance medley, Greenough, with teammates junior Eroica Stackhouse and freshmen Lauren Hoover and Amy Stanke finished first in the event with a time of 13:57.92. Their time topped the old Webster record by 25 seconds.
Hoover set a new school record of 1:05.99 in the 400-meter dash, and sophomore Jenny Howard finished second in the 60-meter dash with a new school record of 7.98 seconds. Howard also set a new record in the 200-meter dash with a time of 27.53 seconds. Coach Kelly Parsley said the team took a different approach to this meet.
“This past week, I wanted the athletes not to focus on running faster personal times but focus on winning each event,” Parsley said. “In years past and in meets this season, we were more focused on individual goals, and going into this meet, I knew we could compete in every event. So I wanted to focus on winning each event because (with) trying to win each event I knew we would run school record times.”
On the men’s team, sophomore Zachary Zurfluh-Cunningham broke the Webster men’s record in the 400-meter run with a time of 52:63 seconds, good for fifth overall in the event. The distance medley team of sophomore Greg Fletcher, senior Daniel Henkey, and freshmen Clayton Roll and Charles Whitehead set a new Webster men’s record time of 11:06.63, second overall in the event.
Whitehead came in second and ran a new record time in the 1,000-meter run with a time of 2:42.82. Henkey ran past the record mark in the 3,000-meter event with a time of 9:12.02, good for third place in the meet. Zurfluh-Cunningham also set a record in the 200-meter dash with a time of 23:56. Parsley said some of the team’s success can be attributed to the freshmen.
“It’s been a big help having additional freshmen on the team,” Parsley said. “George (Foehrer) is injured but was doing well at the beginning of the season. Clayton Roll has stepped up and played an integral part in all of our relays. Charles (Whitehead) has broken three school records off the top of my head as a freshman, the 800(-meter run), the 1000(-meter run) and the relay.
“So, having those additional freshmen and having senior leadership like Aaron Oberneufemann — he continues to get better every year. This weekend he broke the school record in the 400-meter run, but Zach (Zurfluh-Cunningham) beat him, so Zach got the record, but they both broke 53 seconds.”
The teams begin their outdoor season on March 16 at the Central Methodist University Open in Fayette, Mo. Greenough said despite the hiatus between meets, there’s still a lot of work to do.
“Honestly, we don’t get a break, but if anyone asks, yes, we get a break,” Greenough said. “What we do, though, is we continue to go to practice and continue to try and improve. We train just as hard as we would do during the season but we’re getting ready for a whole new outdoor season.
“As runners, we never get a break. Over this short span of time we’re going to be doing exactly like we would do if we were in season. We’re going to try to work hard at learning pace and speeding those up a bit.”
Parsley also stressed the importance of hard work and motivation during the off time.
“We don’t want to be starting over in a couple weeks,” Parsley said. “We want to continue the success we had and keep building on that, so my job is going to be continuing motivating them and keep them interested.
“I have high goals. I set a goal for myself that I wanted every record broken for every event we put on the track this year. … For the spring, it’ll be the same goal. And I think we’re ahead of the game with us breaking records indoors already, some of those (records) outdoor records. It’s just about staying motivated and working hard.”