BY JESS KIRCHHOFF
PHOTOS BY MADISON SHAPLAND
The Fort Hays State track and field team was able to capture and bring home four All-American trophies on Saturday, March 12 at the NCAA DII Indoor Track and Field Championships. The second day of the event proved to be a fruitful one for the Tigers with Fort Hays State finishing the week with 11 All-Americans, five on the first team and six on the second team. The men’s team had six while the women’s team had five All-Americans. Official results are as follows:
1st Team All-America (1st through 8th place finishers)
Ryan Stanley – National Champion in pole vault, 17 feet, 9.25 inches
Mattie Rossi – 5th in pentathlon, 3,766 points
Jacob Clark – 6th in pole vault, 16 feet, 10.75 inches
Nolan Churchman – 7th in heptathlon, 5,269 points
Ethan Lang – Qualified for 800-meter finals, but was DQ’d – still received first-team honors from USTFCCCA for making the finals.
2nd Team All-America (9th through 12th place finishers)
Alexandra Hart – 9th in high jump, 5 feet, 7 inches
Philip Landrum – 9th in 60-meter prelims, 6.80 seconds
Philip Landrum – 9th in 200-meter prelims, 21.56 seconds
Lyric Holman – 10th in 60-meter prelims, 7.51 seconds
Lyric Holman – 11th in 200-meter prelims, 24.53 seconds
Mattie Rossi – 12th in 60-meter hurdle prelims, 8.62 seconds
Stanley, a two-time All-American and defending pole vault national champion, was delighted to display to everyone that his hard work throughout the indoor season was paying off.
“It feels good knowing that the hours I have put in are showing. During the indoor season, I tried to remain positive and confident throughout practice and competition,” he said. “Pole vaulters have ups and downs every season, it’s important to remain focused and persistent during tough spots. I am proud to represent the Tigers while doing so.”
Along with his own efforts, Stanley would also like to extend his recent success to his dutiful supporters.
“I would like to thank my parents for taking time out of their lives to invest in mine. They have been at all my meets this season,” he said. “I know this is something that not everyone has; I am incredibly grateful for their support.”
As the indoor season came to a close, Stanley said he was very excited for the outdoor season to begin, and is eager to start working towards achieving his next set of goals.
“We are going to some bigger meets this outdoor season, and I am excited to face some high-level competition. I am also looking to keep the ball rolling with the good performances I had at the end of indoor,” Stanley said. “ My biggest achievement, relative to pole vault, was my 5.42m bar. That bar was the 5th best all-time DII Indoors and 3rd best during the DII NCAA Indoor Championships. My next goal is anything over 18 feet. I am excited to keep moving up poles and see what I can accomplish as a Tiger.”
Jacob Clark, a freshman pole vaulter that is new to the All-American stage, shares Stanely’s enthusiasm about the prospective outdoor season and is pleased with his new status.
“It feels great to be an All-American as it has always been a goal of mine. I’m so excited for the outdoor season,” Clark said. “I know I have more to give to improve my national ranking.
“Throughout the indoor season, I made sure to work on weak parts of my technique, eat correctly, sleep good, and keep disciplined. All of these things combined led me to my biggest achievement of jumping two indoor PRs and placing 6th at nationals.”
Clark said his goal for the outdoor season is to place in the top three at nationals.
Like Stanely, Clark was proud of the personal labor that went into achieving one of his biggest goals, but could not stand to take all of the credit for his attainment.
“I would like to thank my parents for helping me to get into a college in America,” Clark said. “I would also like to thank my coach Randy for his knowledge and expertise to help improve my performance.”
In agreement with the others, Mattie Rossi sees her All-American position as a huge accomplishment, but well-deserved nonetheless.
“It’s very exciting to be an All-American. It is a sense of fulfillment after a long season of building mental toughness and athletic ability,” Rossi said. “My indoor season’s success was a large compilation of summer weights, fall training, and winter competition. I was able to build a strong foundation this summer and added onto my base throughout the fall through race training, technical skill development, and general strength by finally being able to compete throughout the winter.”
Rossi has her peers to thank for pushing her to achieve new athletic heights every day.
“I am extremely thankful for my teammates and their support. The athletes I train with every day encourage me to grow and compete as an athlete and individual,” she said. “They are supportive, competitive, and accountable. I love running for Fort Hays because of my teammates.”
Rossi is also ready for the outdoor season to begin for a multitude of reasons, one being to individually better herself.
“I am eager for the start of the outdoor season and the competition that comes with it. I look forward to competing in the 400-meter hurdles as well as the heptathlon,” she said. “As the team progresses into the outdoor season I look to improve personal bests in various events and qualify for nationals.”
The above-mentioned athletes as well as many more Tigers will open the Outdoor Track and Field season this weekend at the ESU Relays.