The Bradley track teams had notable performances at the Kip Janvrin Open and renowned Drake Relays last weekend, including 18 new personal records and 18 top-10 finishes.
Sophomore McKenzie Altmayer highlighted the first day in Des Moines, Iowa, by setting a program record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. She finished second of 19 runners in 10:31.57, beating Caitlin Bush’s 2014 school record of 10:36.93 by more than five seconds.
“It was nice to see it accomplished and to have, in a way, proven myself correct.” Altmayer said. “Like my belief in myself wasn’t irrational, I knew I could do it so I went out and did it.”
Altmayer’s time was the second fastest in the Missouri Valley Conference this season and puts her in a good position before the NCAA West Region Preliminary May 23-25.
“McKenzie [Altmayer] kind of stole the show on Thursday,” Bradley head coach Darren Gauson said. “I thought she did excellent and she’s now ranked 42nd in the [West] Region – that’ll probably put her into the first round [of the NCAA West Preliminary]. The first lap wasn’t that quick, so [for her] to run that quick off a slower start is really impressive.”
Redshirt freshman Jack Franklin spearheaded the men’s team, clocking in at 14:40.31 to set a personal record in the 5,000-meter run. Franklin finished seventh out of 15.
On Friday, senior Niamh Markham led the Bradley women in the 1,500-meter with a fourth-place finish out of 14 runners in 4:26.20 at the Drake Relays. She beat her PR by two seconds and ranks third in the MVC this season.
According to Gauson, Markham is still looking to get back in form fully, following a minor injury this spring.
“[Markham] impresses me all the time and had a really, really good indoor season and broke 4:50 for the first time,” Gauson said. “She then had a little bit of an injury and slipped and fell on the ice. But over the last few weeks, she’s been coming back. I think she’ll be at 100 percent come conference.”
Nearby in Indianola, Iowa, redshirt freshman Evan Mitchell highlighted the Kip Janvrin Open for the men Friday after finishing fifth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 9:25.31. Mitchell surpassed his PR by almost 12 seconds and now holds the eighth-best time in Bradley history.
Redshirt freshman Alec Danner placed second in the 5,000 in 14:41.22, beating his PR by 10 seconds. Juniors Ben Potrykus and Nick Porter finished third in their respective events. Potrykus crossed the finish line at 1:54.06 in the 800-meter run and Porter finished 4:01.99 in the 1,500-meter.
The Bradley women had five of the top-seven runners in the 1,500-meter at the Kip Janvrin Open. Senior Brooke Nusser placed first at 4:33.48, followed by senior Kathryn Adelman.
Altmayer believes the women are becoming a stronger contender in the Valley after this weekend’s results.
“I think the women’s team specifically is finally starting to comprehend how good and competitive we can be,” Altmayer said. “We have so much talent on our team and I think everyone finally believes in it and in themselves. So if everything clicks at the conference meet we could do really, really well.”
The women’s 4×100 relay team clocked the fourth-best time in program history. Freshmen runners Ashley Farmer, Stephanie Nwachi and Hannah Ivy, and sophomore Soren Umali clocked a time of 49.32. The time was the quickest by a Bradley team since 1986.
Junior Morgan Lain came out in seventh at 18:07.84 for the 5,000, while Ivy also placed second in the 400-meter dash at 56.83 for the women.
Gauson noted that both teams are looking in good shape for the MVC Championship following 17 PRs and 17 top-10 finishes on Friday alone.
“You’re always looking for momentum and this past weekend really showed us that people are looking really good with PRs and school records,” Gauson said.
On Saturday, the men’s team ran in the 800-meter run. Junior Scott Seymour led the Braves, finishing in fourth with a time of 1:52.70. Senior David Shadid and sophomore Alec Hartman followed at 1:52.85 and 1:57.80, respectively.
The Braves return to action today at the Bill Hayes Invitational in Bloomington, Indiana. Most of the top runners will take the week off in preparation for the MVC Championship that will be held May 10-12 in Terre Haute, Indiana.