Though the Gorloks broke one school record this past weekend, the Webster University men’s and women’s track and field teams each finished fourth in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship. The Gorloks competed at the True Blue Open in Jacksonville, Ill., on Saturday, April 27.
The meet counts as the SLIAC championship. Scores for each SLIAC school were weighed against each other to determine the conference champion.
Sophomore Jenny Howard ran the 100-meter dash in 12.54 seconds and finished first overall in both the SLIAC (nine runners) and True Blue field. Howard also ran a 25.95 in the 200-meter dash, which was good for first place in the SLIAC (10 runners) and third overall. Howard will be attempting to qualify for nationals during the next two weeks.
“Hopefully, we can get some good weather and run some good times in our next meet,” Howard said. “I’ve run some pretty good times, but I’m on the cusp of the (top) 22. I’m around 30th right now. I think if I get some good weather and I can run I should be able to qualify, but we’ll see because the weather hasn’t been too good.”
Coach Kelly Parsley said the weather has been an issue for the Gorloks all season.
“Anytime you have a conference champion, it’s great,” Parsley said. “And Jenny Howard was conference champion (in the 100 and 200). Not only was she conference champion, but she won the whole meet in both the 100 and 200. Again, we’ve had horrible weather the whole spring and she hasn’t ran one day where it hasn’t rained. That’s typically not pretty weather for sprinters.
“She has really persevered through horrible conditions. This year, she has only lost to one Division-III athlete all season. I’m always happy with Jenny. Anytime you can win a conference in the 100 and 200, we’re pretty happy.”
Freshman Lauren Hoover completed the 400-meter run in 1 minute, 4.39 seconds and finished second for the Gorloks in the SLIAC. Junior Eroica Stackhouse took home second place in the 1,500-meter run in the SLIAC with a time of 5:04.37. Sophomore Kristen McDowell finished third in the high jump in the SLIAC at 1.40 meters. Junior Julie Greenough finished third in the SLIAC for the Gorloks in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 19:19.76. Parsley said his team performed well.
“I was very happy with our performance,” Parsley said. “Everybody contributed; everybody scored points for us. I think that’s a first in Webster history. We only broke one school record, but our records are getting better so they’re tougher to break. I was very happy with the performances we had.”
On the men’s side, senior Aaron Oberneufemann finished first in the high jump for the SLIAC at 1.75 meters and seventh overall in the True Blue field. Oberneufemann also finished second for the Gorloks in the triple jump with a length of 12.46 meters and fourth in the 400-meter run with a time of 51.34.
Senior Ethan Jeffries finished second in the 5,000 in the SLIAC field with a time of 15:53.34. Sophomore Zachary Zurfluh-Cunningham took third place in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.80. Sophomore Jason Hickson finished third in the SLIAC field in the 10,000-meter run with a time of 34:55.53.
The Gorloks’ next meet will be May 9-10 at the Dr. Keeler Invitational in Naperville, Ill. Parsley said Webster has added another meet that’s scheduled for May 16. This will be the last chance for the Gorloks to qualify for nationals.
“We’re hoping to find a meet where the weather is actually good (in order) to give (Howard) an opportunity,” Parsley said. “She’s been in and out of the top 22 all season, which is what it takes to go to nationals. So, we’re hoping that this weather will break, and we’ll get an opportunity to run on a good day because we think on a good day her time is going to come down even more, and she’s going to qualify.”