Justin Chapman | Echo
The women's track and field team is the Crossroads League Champions. The men's team almost completed a Taylor sweep, however they finished second.
Last Friday and Saturday, the Taylor track and field teams traveled to Marion, Indiana, to compete in the first-ever Indoor Track and Field Crossroads League Championship. After two days of competition, the hard work paid off.
The women's team continued to show their excellence in this impressive championship victory. Junior Plenseh-Tay Sakeuh won the long jump and 60-meter hurdles. The spotlight remains on Sakeuh, as she was also named the NAIA Women's Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week.
Sakeuh also recognizes how hard her team worked and enjoys the sight of seeing her teammates succeed.
"It's great to see everyone put so much time and energy into practices and then reap the benefits in actual meets; and to see people that didn't expect themselves to do as well rise to occasion because we all had the same common goal," Sakeuh said. "That was also really amazing to see."
Interim head coach Ted Bowers received the Crossroads League Indoor Women's Track and Field Coach of the Year honor.
Freshman Sarah Harden added two victories in the mile run and 3,000 meter run. She also helped the distance medley relay team bring home first place. Senior Alex Berends recorded a first place finish in the 1,000 meter run.
The men's team flexed their muscles and included some notable finishes. Sophomore Caleb Anthony turned on the jets and won the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.11 seconds. Junior Ben Byrd brought Taylor a victory in the mile run with a time 4:21.41.
Anthony said Bowers thought the team would finish around third place, so earning second place was a great accomplishment. However, Anthony knows the team can do better when everyone gets healthy again.
This year is the first time a conference championship occurred for indoor track and field, and it took place early, so the teams had less time to prepare for this meet. Anthony likes the indoor track season, but is looking forward to having more time in the outdoor track and field season.
Bowers knows some of the difficulties of a short indoor track and field season. Some athletes entered in a "no time" for some events since they have not run in some events yet, which means they get placed in a slower heat.
Harden had yet to compete in the mile, so she was put in a slower heat, even though she is one of Taylor's best runners. The indoor season also creates some physical problems for runners.
"(Senior) Joe Beamish . . . (ran) one event and that's it," Bowers said. "Easily he could have run one each day, but we're just not ready to race. And indoors is harder on the legs than outdoors (because) of the tight turns and everything. Everybody reacts differently, but it's not a good thing. If you run a lot of curves, it's hard on your legs."
Fortunately, the indoor track and field season ends in early March, and the outdoor season begins in mid-March.
The teams will compete in the Findlay All-Corners invite today at 4 p.m. This will be the last indoor competition for some of Taylor's athletes. Those who qualified for Nationals will head to Pittsburg, Kansas, March 1-3 to compete in the NAIA Indoor National Championships.
"Photograph provided by TU Sport Information Department"