By Andrew Gardewine
Many sports teams on campus competed in their conference meets during the spring semester. Many teams’ achievements have been swallowed by the waves of other information that have been thrown at the students this semester. This is a detailed article about the accomplisments of our Men’s and Women’s track and field team at their conference meet.
It was a good meet for the Bearcats – The men finished 2nd overall in the team standings with many podium finishes, falling short only to the University of Indianapolis. On the women’s side they placed 5th overall with great individual finishes.
Head coach Michael Mendez was pleased with the team’s performance saying, “We may not have finished where we wanted as a team, but I am proud of the way we performed. When we show up, our opponents know they’re going to have to perform their best to compete with us.”
The standout male athlete for McKendree was senior DeMontez McCray who placed 1st in the 60 meter dash and 200 meter dash. Along with his teammates Tyree Allen, Andrew Gardewine and Tyler Johnson, McCray also helped anchor in a victory in the 4×400 meter relay for the Bearcats, earning 3 gold medals over the weekend. McCray also earned himself the award for the GLVC Athlete of the Year for the 7th time in his career. The women’s standout finisher was senior Quincy McSweeney placing 2nd in the 800 meter dash with a time of 2:14.87.
The men had many other podium finishers in various events. Senior Monte Wolke placed first in the pole vault, senior Tyree Allen placed 2nd in both the 200 meter and 60 meter dash, senior Darren Arzu finished 2nd overall in 60 meter hurdles, senior Andrew Gardewine placed 3rd in the 400 meter dash, sophomore Najee Sylvester placed 3rd in the 60 meter dash and freshmen Torrey Deal placed 3rd in the high jump.
For the majority of the team the season is over, but not for McCray and McSweeney. McCray secured himself a position at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 200 meter dash and McSweeney a spot in the 800 meter dash.
Head coach, Michael Mendez, is excited for the outdoor season stating, “There is no doubt in my mind we can’t win the outdoor conference title. I’ve always seen and treated us [the team] as more of an outdoor team because we don’t have the indoor facilities like other schools. After placing second at the indoor championships I’m confident in our team’s abilities for the outdoor season.”
On April 5th McKendree hosted its second annual “Bearcat Classic” against the Lewis University Flyers, Bellarmine Knights, Maryville Saints and other GLVC conference teams. Last year Mendez spearheaded the push to host a home meet, something McKendree had not done since the change from NAIA to NCAA Division II was made in 2010. Mendez, being a former member of the Bearcats track team, had wanted to host a home meet ever since he became head coach.