Four Colorado Mesa athletes headed to track nationals
Colorado Mesa’s track and field team achieved a first for its program Tuesday when four athletes qualified for the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field National Championships next week in Allendale, Mich.
Whitney Rowe, Bacall Sterling, Shane Niksic and John Cusick received invitations with provisional scores.
Rowe qualified in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and the long jump. She competed in those three events at the indoor national championships in March.
“I think I am more excited that we are sending four athletes, the most in school history,” Rowe said. “Personally, being able to represent the Mavs in three events is a blessing. I’m beyond excited at the news.”
Rowe ranks 16th in the 100 (11.77 seconds), 23rd in the 200 (24.25) and 22nd in the long jump (19 feet, 5.25 inches).
Sterling qualified in the triple jump. She ranks 19th in the nation (39-11.25). The sophomore qualified for the indoor championships in the same event.
“Making outdoor nationals along with three of my teammates is so surreal,” Sterling said. “I am blessed to have made it so far in my first year at CMU. We have all come a long way and are ready to put in work in Michigan.”
Niksic is making his first appearance at the outdoor championships. He is ranked 11th in the 800 (1:52.05). He competed in the 800 at the 2013 indoor meet.
“I feel relieved,” Niksic said. “I expected to make it in indoor (this spring), and that didn’t happen. It’s harder to make it in outdoor than indoor.”
More schools compete in outdoor than indoor track and field.
Cusick is going to nationals for the first time. He qualified in the 1,500 with a time of 3:48.51 at the Colorado School of Mines Last Chance meet. He ranks 11th.
“I couldn’t be more excited for my teammates and myself to go out and perform on the national stage,” Cusick said.
Cusick recently switched from distance events to mid-distance events. He had a 12-second improvement at the Last Chance meet.
Six Colorado Mesa track athletes were selected to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-South Central Region team.
Cathryn Ambler (400 meters), Danyelle Minchow (javelin), Quincey Pedersen (high jump), Rowe (100) and Sterling (triple jump) made the women’s team.
Niksic (800) made the men’s team.
Colorado Mesa softball players Jessica Severinsen and Makayla Kovac made the Daktronics All-South Central Region team.
Severinsen made the first team as a utility player. The senior shared the RMAC pitcher of the year award with Metro State’s Aubree Maul. Severinsen was 13-12 with a RMAC-best 3.234 ERA. She was second on the team in batting average (.427) and home runs (17).
Kovac made the second team at shortstop. The sophomore was the RMAC player of the year. She hit .497 and led the RMAC in average, slugging percentage, runs and RBI. She had a 21-game hit streak during the season, and she led the Mavs in home runs.