The Barton Community College women’s track and field team captured its first conference championship since 2009 as the Lady Cougars won seven individual titles Sunday at Manhattan’s Ahearn Arena in the 2015 Region VI Indoor Championships. Easily distancing itself from other Jayhawk West foes to win the conference, Barton nearly pulled the double win finishing second in the Region VI standings. The Lady Cougars finished with 159 points, the most since 2009, finishing region runner-up behind Coffeyville Community College’s 173.
“Although our men finished first and our women were second in the region, it really does feel like a whole team win,” according to Head Coach Dave Schenek. “This entire group of individuals, from the coaching staff, down to the student-athletes, men and women, have united as a family. When we do that, we have a great shot of doing special things.”
Lydia Mato continued her dominance over the Region and reaffirmed herself once again as one of the NJCAA’s premiere athletes, earning both the Athlete of the Meet and Most Points Scored honors with a total of 48 team points including four championship titles and a runner-up finish.
Mato began the day with a comfortable 19:46.05 win in the 5000m four seconds ahead over Butler Community College’s nationally ranked Terra Flores. Mato’s next race was the 1 Mile Run where she continued her dominance winning by five seconds in clocking a 5:29.46. Three races later Mato was back on the track to compete in the 800m for the first time ever. Not having a qualified score in the event, Mato was placed in the slower second heat which most likely cost her an unprecedented fifth title. Cruising well ahead of the pack in the heat, Mato ran 2:24.73 which fell one second behind Stephanie Barrett of Cloud County’s time set in the first heat. Bouncing back in the 3000m, Mato once again topped Flores, this time by fourteen seconds in winning with a 10:34.80 time. With her final race being the next race scheduled on the agenda, the finale proved to be the most impressive win of the historic day. Having never run the 1000m and little recoup time between her last race, Mato captured the title by ten seconds in clocking a 3:00.97 which ranks 8th all-time in Barton track history.
The Lady Cougar distance domination did not end with Mato. In the sophomore heavy 5000m, freshmen Kaitlynn Tuey ran a new personal record of 20:54.05 to finish 8th. Holly Pierce also set a new personal record finishing 6th in the 3000m in 11:43. The 4x800m squad of Pierce, Yazmin Rendon, Julee McAtee and Trenna Cox captured a 4th place finish in 10:33.38. McAtee, Cox, and Rendon were joined by Brooklyn Polk to finish 6th in the Distance Medley Relay in a time of 14:15.01.
The Lady Cougar sprinters shined on Sunday as well, garnering 70 team points in only six sprinting events. In addition to Mato’s titles, Vanessa Style played a part in the other three Barton titles by first winning the 200m in 24.98 and the 60m Hurdles in a school eighth best time of 8.56 to earn honorable mention honors for the National Athlete of the Week given out by the Track & Field Coaches Association.
With Style leading the way, the Lady Cougars went 1-2-5 in the 60m Hurdles as Tasha Frazier‘s personal best 8.86 was second and Marissa Oglesby‘s 9.01 was good for fifth. Widline Lageroy also had a good day on the oval joining Style in the 200m to finish in 7th place at 25.87 and a runner-up finish in the 600m at 1:40.71. Tamara Style led the Lady Cougars in the short sprint placing 5th in the 60m at 7.81 seconds and nearly pulled off the an individual title in the 400m. Leading the Barton dominance in the event, Style finished in the runner-up position by .01 seconds crossing the line in 58.62. Oneisha Glover placed 5th at 58.90 and Polk grabbed the seventh spot at 59.11.
In one of the most dominate performances of the day, Frazier won the Long Jump by over a foot, with a personal best mark of 5.72m (18-09.25). Competing in the event for the first time this season, N’Kia Jones finished 7th with a 4.93m (16-02.00) leap. Jones would return in her marquee event, the triple jump, with a mark of 10.91m (35-09.00) to score 5th. Competing in her first meet of the year after placing 7th at last year’s national championships, Bethany Bowman cleared 1.56m (5-01.00) in the High Jump to finish third. Elizabeth Evans also helped claim points with a 7th place Shot Put finish at 12.08m (39-07.00).
The Lady Cougars closed out the Championships with a dominating performance in the women’s 4x400m. The team of Lageroy, Glover, and Vanessa and Tamara Style combined to run 3:55.54, nearly two seconds faster than runner-up Coffeyville.
Next up for the Lady Cougars will be a trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the NJCAA National Championships held March 6-7.