Three Shockers set Top-25 marks at Track and Field’s Shocker Invitational


Lena Alhallaq/ The Sunflower

Wichita State Jocelen Ruth competes in weight throw during the invitational for track and field at Wichita State on Jan. 29.

Three Wichita State Track and Field athletes set top-25 marks in the country during the Shocker Invitational on Friday. In the meet, WSU faced off against the likes of Oral Roberts and Oklahoma Baptist as they continue to progress through their season.

Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Steve Rainbolt said that he was pleased with how the program performed on Friday.

“A track meet like this is meant to progress through the season,” Rainbolt said. “I feel like we saw a lot of things that won’t show up on the results as spectacular performances, but I can think of a lot of great things that happened today. I think we had a lot of good developmental and training performances.” 

Three different Shockers were able to put together top-25 NCAA marks during the meet. Senior Michael Bryan put together a personal best in the weight throw at 20.10m/65-11.50 which puts him in a tie for No. 25 in the country. 

Juniors Antonio Norman and Joseph Holthusen also performed well, with the pair putting up times of 7.89 and 7.90 in the 60-meter hurdles. Norman’s puts him in a tie for No. 13 in the country and No. 5 in school history, while Holthusen’s time puts him in a tie for 15th-best in the NCAA. 

“As far as upper level performances, those guys (Norman and Holthusen) certainly had that and so did Michael Bryan,” Rainbolt said. “It’s sort of hard to explain this but a track meet like this, sometimes upper level performances happen but a track meet like this is more for progressing through the season, developing through a season, building your way through a season.”

Another notable performance was that of sophomore transfer Marissa Jensen, who competed in her first event as a Shocker and won the women’s high jump with a mark of 1.63m/5-4.25. 

Rainbolt said that although Jensen’s performance has room for improvement, he was pleased with it based upon everything she’s been through with the recent transfer from Missouri. 

“Her mark wasn’t unbelievably impressive but I know what she’s been through in the past ten days, getting registered for classes and moving here,” Rainbolt said. “So, was her performance impressive? No, not necessarily but I was really pleased with how she competed. I felt like it was a good, strong, fundamental performance.”

In the program’s four events that they have taken part in the spring, only one has received a team score. But Rainbolt said that he is hopeful heading into the Division I Challenge hosted by Washburn on Jan. 12. 

“For many athletically minded people, that’s odd to finish up a day like this and not have an ultimate result. But it is the way that it is in our sport that certain meets that you come to, you compete and there is no team score in the end. So, we are looking forward to the meet at Washburn for the team scored event and the 200-meter banked track.”

Even with the indoor Track and Field season currently in session, there will be no American Athletic Conference Indoor Championships. 

Earlier this week, the program received the approval to compete in the Championship at The Peak which will be hosted by Air Force. Rainbolt said that this event can now serve as a target for some athletes ahead of the outdoor season. 

“I feel that our athletes have resigned themselves in that regard. I feel like they have successfully listened to us, encouraged themselves to look at the Championship at The Peak as a target and to prepare for the outdoor season. I feel like they’re training hard and competing and I don’t sense a lot of letdown as a result of that. There might be some but not much.”

In the program’s four events that they have taken part in the spring, only one has received a team score. But Rainbolt said that he is hopeful heading into the Division I Challenge hosted by Washburn on Jan. 12. 

“I’m very excited about it, very hopeful for top-three finishes on both sides,” Rainbolt said. “So, really excited and feel like we have two nice teams. We compete in a conference with one really, really upper-level team in Tulsa. So that’s an extremely tough opponent but we’ve got a nice team on both sides and we’re excited about that meet for both our men’s and women’s teams.