Coaches poll selects Mavericks as preseason NSIC champion
The Minnesota State Mavericks track and field team opened outdoor competition over the weekend, their first outdoor meet taking place in Winona, MN on Friday, hosted by St. Mary’s University.
It was a busy day for the Mavericks junior class, with Tanner Ogren taking first in the 200m dash (21.58 time), Javon Peterson taking first in the 800m run (2:01.06 time), and Jayme LaPlante taking first in shot-put (15.23m throw). While the upperclassmen showed strong to headline the day, the underclassmen made some waves as well with impressive performances.
Sophomore sprinter, Justin Taormina, helped the 4x100m team finish first with a time of 41.60. Vance Barnes, Ogren, and Wilson Jaquez where also on the upperclassmen laden first place team. Senior long-jumper, Michael Saddle, finished with a 7.22m jump to take first. He was followed by freshman Cameron Ramnarine, who posted a 6.47m leap.
Other spotlight performances included another junior, Elijah Calderon-Pitchford, who posted the fifth-best triple-jump in DII track and field with his 15.18m spring.
The opener was pushed to the 30th after a cancellation because of weather conditions, which was to be hosted by Southwestern Minnesota State.
The outing is on the heels of the Mavericks performing exceptionally at the DII Indoor National Championship. Five Mavericks received All-American honors while representing MSU there. Reid Diamond, John Schuster, Ogren, and Sydne Davis all grabbed All-American status on the 4×100 team, which finished fourth overall after running a 3:11.59 time. Sandle also took fourth for his efforts in the triple jump following a 51.511m leap. The team was well prepared to make a run in their outdoor season.
Even more affirmation of the Mavericks status in the outdoor track arena was the coaches poll released just a short pair of weeks ago, which selected MSU as the preseason NSIC champion. They have racked up six outdoor conference titles, and after gathering some steam to finish the indoor season and rack up the All-Americans, MSU seems to be the pick.
As the outdoor season kicks off, the Mavericks have a far easier schedule to start the season in comparison to last year. Last season saw the Mavericks heading out to Kansas, Missouri and Texas three of their first four competitions. That proceeded a two competition in California. Instead of a roaring travel schedule to kick off the year outside, the Mavericks stay closer to home, which hopefully marks an advantage. They head to Missouri, Wisconsin, and Nebraska for their foreseeable schedule. When not out of state, they will see the Minnesota homeland twice in the next five competitions.
If all goes well on a light travel schedule, the Mavericks should be right on pace to fulfill preseason predictions.
Photo: (Aditya Dhapare/MSU Reporter)