HUTCHINSON — Barton Community College opened the National Junior College Athletics Association men’s and women’s outdoor track and field championship with a national champion in the women’s hammer throw on Thursday.
Marcela Solano took first place with a heave of 188 feet, eight inches — 22-6 deeper than the second-place finisher Leigha Graziano of Mesa.
“That is definitely a positive note to start a meet,” Schenek said. “It is something that you can take back to the rest of the team and motivate them with. We just have to keep the ball rolling.”
The toss set the meet record, which was previously 186-7.
“Her best is 191 this year,” Schenek said. “We have been training through this meet for the South American championship. She’s in the top eight in South America. We expect big things in Argentina in a couple of weeks.”
The meet began on Thursday and concludes on Saturday.
While most events begin today, there were two events completed on Thursday — men’s and women’s hammer throw and 10,000-meter run. Also, the heptathlon competition completed four of seven events and the decathlon competition completed five of 10.
Janee Mickens took 13th place in the hammer throw for the Lady Cougars with a distance of 131-1.
In the men’s hammer throw, Barton was led by Matt Marcoccia, who took 12th place with a throw of 152-7.
Schenek said that his team has a number of top entries competing in today’s events.
“I think we have a good, solid number of kids competing at the national meet,” Schenek said. “We have a number of high qualifiers in the top three in their events. We have the No. 3 women’s shot putter competing (on Friday). We have the No. 1 100- and 200-meter runner in Everett Walker.”
Schenek said that his team has been hit by injuries.
“We are missing a couple of No. 1 qualifiers,” Schenek said. “Aleec Harris was the No. 1 runner in the 110 hurdles. He’s out with an injury.”
Schenek said that the injuries has hurt Barton as a team, but hasn’t squashed its chances at competitive as a team.
“I think we could be compeititve,” Schenek said. “We have a lot of top qualifiers, but we’re missing a lot of depth. You know, a couple of injuries and you lose a kid and things start stretching thin.”