Blue Dragon track shines bright at nationals

By Steve Carpenter

Darriell Rhodes/Collegian - Blue Dragon track athletes Stein Desir and Renistin St. Louis (in white shirt), stretch after practice on March 11, while getting ready for the outdoor track season.
Darriell Rhodes/Collegian - Blue Dragon track athletes Stein Desir and Renistin St. Louis (in white shirt), stretch after practice on March 11, while getting ready for the outdoor track season.

The Hutchinson Community College men’s 4×800 meter relay produced the top single-event finish for the Blue Dragons at the 2015 NJCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

Both Hutchinson men’s and women’s teams each finished 24th in the overall team standings.

The Blue Dragon men scored five team points and the HCC women scored 1.5 points.

The 4×800 relay of Eric Jones, Stein Desir, Renistin St. Louis and Ridge Williams finished sixth overall with a time of 7 minutes, 56.94 seconds.

That was the second-fastest time in the Blue Dragons’ heat.

The relay posted the sixth-best men’s 4×800 relay time in Blue Dragon indoor history.

Freshman Manny Hernandez was the only other Blue Dragon men’s athlete to score points at nationals.

He finished seventh in the men’s 800 finals with a time of 2:01.36.

Hernandez qualified for the finals with a dazzling time Friday preliminary time of 1:57.11.

Freshman pole vaulter Stormie Fuentes was the only HCC women’s athlete to register points.

Fuentes cleared 10 feet, 6 inches to tie for seventh. Fuentes jumps to No. 3 on Hutchinson’s all-time indoor women’s pole vault chart.

Four other HCC athletes didn’t score but posted performances in the HCC all-time indoor charts.

Williams rank a men’s 600-meter preliminary time of 1:23.39, which is the sixth-best time on the HCC charts.

Sophomore women’s thrower Alex VanSyckle placed 18th overall in the 20-pound weight throw with a season’s best 45 feet, 3 inches.

That’s the fourth-best throw in HCC history.

Sophomore Austin Vaden and freshman Joseph Peters finished ninth and 10th, respectively, in the men’s heptathlon.

Vaden scored a personal-best 4,423 points, the third-best indoor heptathlon score on the HCC charts.

Peters scored 4,309 points, the seventh-best total in team history.

Other NJCAA Indoor Championship performances by Blue Dragon athletes: + Elijah McGill ran a 60-meter preliminary time of 7.01 seconds. + Wesley Chaney ran a 60-meter preliminary time of 7.05 seconds. + Desir didn’t qualify for the men’s 600-meter final, running a preliminary time of 1:25.64. + Jones ran an 800-meter preliminary time of 1:59.16.

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