EMPORIA, Kan. – Jerosan Fletcher put herself in line to qualify for the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships in May with a B-Standard run in the women's 400-meters, Friday at Emporia State University, edged by Pittsburg State's Alyssa Hammons run of 57.14. Fletcher's 57.36 is a provisional qualifier for May's championships and led the Pirates at ESU, as the women's team finished in a 15th-place tie and the men ended 11th in the first outdoor meet of the 2017 season.
The 1,500-meter run was good to the Pirates on both the men's and women's sides, with siblings carding seventh-place finishes, as Mary Beth Bailey was seventh in the women's race and Luke Bailey took seventh in the men's. Luke Bailey, along with Christian Skinner, won their sections in the 1,500, joining Fletcher as section winners.
Park's men also benefitted from a strong 800-meter run, as William Henry was sixth, in 1:57, edging teammate Akwy Gawg, who was seventh with a time of 1:59. Before the 800, David Jackson posted a top-10 finish in the 400-meter dash finishing ninth, in 50.52, just ahead of Barton County's Kevin Turner in 50.54. In the 400, only 0.5 seconds separated eighth place through 13th.
The Pirates' female distance runners looked strong in the 5,000-meter run, Friday, led by Morgan Lindgren, who was seventh in the event in 19:58. In all, four Pirates finished the 5,000, including 10th place for Samantha Guardado, 11th for senior Erin Esry, and 13th for Emily High, who was just seven seconds behind Esry with Sophia Defeo, from the University of Saint Mary, in between.
Field events were led by Aaliyah Brown, still battling back from injury from the indoor season. Brown's shot put mark of 13.08 meters finished sixth, behind a 13.45-meter throw from Amy Dorge from Central Missouri and four more throws that hit provisional marks for NCAA or NAIA championships. Brown also competed in the hammer throw for the Pirates, finishing 13th, one place ahead of teammate Diamond Mosby.
"You don't really know what to expect when you go to an outdoor meet for the first time after a full indoor schedule, but I thought our kids competed really hard," said Park coach Brian Renshaw. "It's something we can build off of, and we come right back here in two weeks to see more competition just like this. We know what we need to work on to be ready for it."
Park is back at Emporia State on April 1, in the Emporia State Relays.