Indoor track season ends with championship: athletes to watch

February 25, 2020

UCCS will be hosting the indoor RMAC conference championship this year. The championship is hosted by every program in the conference with facilities to support it and the host rotates every year; it will take place this weekend on the mornings of Friday, Feb. 28 and Saturday, Feb. 29.

Dillon Schrodt is the head assistant track and field coach and focuses on long-distance sprinters, hurdlers and jumpers.

Schrodt believes that the team can easily place first or second at the championship because of the strength of their athletes and shared some highlights on specific athletes to watch at the championship and in the outdoor season.

Athletes with provisional marks, showing that their performance is in the top 10 percent of the nation during each season, qualify for the national tournament if their seasonal record, after conference championships, are in the top 16 for their event.

Will Ross

The Scribe previously wrote an article featuring senior mechanical engineering major Ross’ career as a UCCS track and field athlete. Schrodt said that he is an athlete that is the face of the program.

“He’s the type of person that we wish everyone was like just because, in the classroom, we don’t have to worry about him,” said Schrodt. “He’s an engineering student and we’ve never had any alerts on his grades, carries a high GPA and doesn’t miss a class.”

Schrodt said that Ross is invested in the program because he took a leap of faith joining the program when he left UCCS’ basketball program because the track and field program was new. “He comes to work every day, ready to get better, and it’s a choice for him,” said Schrodt.

Ross’ confidence was low when he first started because basketball was his first love, but his hard work earned him more success every year.

Ross has two provisional marks.

His long jump mark, at 7.42 meters, is No. 9 in the nation at the time of print and his provisional mark in the triple jump is No. 2 in the conference, behind teammate Dakota Abbott, with 14.84 meters.

Dakota Abbott

Abbot, a sophomore, is a surprising athlete because he was not highly sought after, and because he is a technically sound athlete, according to Schrodt.

UCCS recruited Abbott after he graduated high school at 17, so while he is competing as a sophomore, he is the same age as the freshman he competes against.

“If we break down the film and stuff, we are sure that there’s more in the tank,” said Schrodt. “I think, by the time he is a junior or senior, he is going to be one of the best triple jumpers in the country.”

Hannah Meek

Meek, a junior, holds two provisional marks in the top 10 in the nation at the time of print.

Her long jump mark is No. 3 in the nation for women’s track and field at 6.08 meters, and her triple jump is No. 4 at 12.26 meters.

Meek previously trained for the pentathlon to support her teammate Kaija Crowe but focused on the high jump and triple jump because other athletes were recruited to fill that position, according to Schrodt.

After switching her focus to horizontal jumps, Meek saw an improvement in her performance.

Kaija Crowe

Crowe, a junior from Minnesota, holds a provisional mark with a No. 10 rank in the nation. Her No. 10 ranking comes from a 5.8 meter long jump record.

Crowe’s main event is the pentathlon and has a foundation in five events.

Schrodt said that she’s performed in any event the team needs to help them earn points. He listed the hurdle, high jump, long jump, triple jump, 200-meter sprint, 400-meter sprint and relays as events that Crowe has helped contribute to for the team.

“She’s always willing to literally sacrifice her body and do almost every event that she can score a point in, and she does them all,” said Schrodt. “In the past, she has been the high point scorer at meets several times, and I think that says a lot about who she is.”

Maia Austin, Dejah Glover, Layla Almasri and Kayla Wooten

Alongside teammates Dejah Glover, Layla Almasri and Kayla Wooten, Austin holds a provisional mark for the distance medley relay.

The group’s best time is 11:39.28, placing them No. 6 in the nation.

The group has experience at nationals and is the same as last year’s group except one member, according to Schrodt.

Almasri and Wooten placed highly during the cross-country season.

Transitioning from the long distance running of cross-country to the relatively short distance for track requires the group to switch from running at a percentage of their best to full out, according to Schrodt.

Schrodt wants as much of the UCCS community to join the team for the indoor championships because of the way it rotates.

“This will be the only time these athletes get to have the RMAC championships in their career at this track,” said Schrodt. “There’s nothing more attractive and it won’t be back for 7–8 years.”