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Blue Hawks to build on indoor track and field national meet

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -- The Dickinson State indoor track and field team finished out the NAIA national meet on Saturday, and head coach Chris Creal sees it as a good stepping stone for improvement.Senior Josh Reed, junior Jose Chorro, junior Whitn...

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - The Dickinson State indoor track and field team finished out the NAIA national meet on Saturday, and head coach Chris Creal sees it as a good stepping stone for improvement.
Senior Josh Reed, junior Jose Chorro, junior Whitney Leuenberger and freshman Jay Liggins completed their events, with Chorro’s ninth place in the 60-meter hurdles standing as the best finish for the Blue Hawks.
“I think all of them were mentally prepared for it,” Creal said. “We had our moments of fun and to relax, and come competition time, everyone came in with a pretty good mindset. I think the kids were ready to compete.”
Reed and Chorro outraced their seeds in the NAIA national indoor track and field in the prelemines of their events and received 14th and ninth, respectively.
Seeded 12th in his event, Chorro ended the 60-meter hurdles in 8.33 seconds and was one spot away from all-American honors.
“I was pretty impressed with what he did,” Creal said. “It wasn’t a bad race by any means, but with him competing, it was just a little shy of making it into the finals, which I know was kind of a goal he wanted. But in retrospect, this is his first time qualifying for nationals.”
Going into the race seeded 22nd, Reed finished the 600 meters with a career-best 1:22.11 for 14th, which was less than 3 seconds behind Indiana Tech’s John Hester, who won the event in 1:19.01.
“I think he had a phenomenal day. He ran his race as best he could and walked away with a career best,” Creal said. “For him, that’s top 15 in the nation, and that's awesome. That’s not something that many kids can brag about. You can’t argue with those kinds of results.”
Leuenberger, who fouled and was marked for 23rd, recorded a 11.95-meter shot put throw.
“We didn’t have a chance to put it all together,” Creal said. “She just fell a little short of her expectations. Especially at the NAIA level, the women’s throwing events are just stacked.”
Liggins also fouled and recorded a distance of 13.34 meters in the triple jump for 20th.
“We kind of couldn’t do what we we were expecting, but after looking at things, for Jay Liggins, he’s a freshman, so it’s the first time competing at nationals,” Creal said. “For him, getting the experience is good. … He had a few jumps that could've been amazing jumps.”
For DSU, the outdoor season begins on March 24 at the Black Hills State Yellow Jacket Spring Open in Spearfish, S.D. Creal said indoor nationals will be a beneficial experience for the entire team as it heads for the outdoor events.
“Just walking away from this will give us some ammunition and some fuel for outdoors,” Creal said. “They’re all excited for each other and excited to see how everyone is doing. Just from the experience the kids are having now, I think it will help everyone who didn’t qualify to fuel that fire, and then for those who are here, it will help them be prepared for the outdoors championships.”

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