2018 BLUE DRAGON WOMEN'S TRACK AND FIELD
When: Saturday, January 13, 2018
Where: Walters Wellness Center, Highland, KS
Field Events: 10 a.m.
Running Events: 1 p.m.
Live Video: Via Highland Community College, 11 a.m.
Hutchinson CC Sports Information
One year ago, Adriana Janic scored a majority of the points in meets for the Hutchinson Community College women's track and field team.
Entering Saturday's 2018 season opener at Highland, veteran Blue Dragon head coach Pat Becher thinks Janic is going to get plenty of help.
"We have a lot of unknowns, but a lot of optimism with our ladies' program this year," said Becher who opens his 34th season with the Blue Dragons.
Becher will take a squad of 33 athletics, the largest team in Hutchinson women's track history, to the Highland Challenge in Highland to open the 2018 indoor season on Saturday.
"We have great numbers and some nice quality," said Becher. "Not only do we have a national champion returning, but several quality sophomores. The thing we will have this year is depth in the sprints, jumps and distance races that we have never had."
The Blue Dragons have eight sophomores returning, five of whom qualified for both the NJCAA indoor and outdoor national championships.
Leading the list Janic (Malmo, Sweden), who is was five-time All-American as a freshman.
She won the 2017 60-meter hurdle indoor national championship with a time of 8.44 seconds. She broke Hutch's 60-meter hurdle record four times in her freshman season.
Janic also finished third in the high jump with a school record clearance of 5 feet, 9 1/2 inches. She was 17th in the indoor long jump (17-8 3/4). In the outdoor season, Janic was third in the 100 hurdles, sixth in the high jump and sixth in the long jump.
"Adriana is excited to get going again," Becher said. "She has a lot of schools looking at her, so that will motivate her even more. We are going to try her in some different events, including some relays, because she can do so many things."
Middle distance runner Maggie Lambert (Lindsborg) is back. She qualified for the indoor 1,000 meters as a freshman and finished 23rd in a time of 3:19.53. Lambert owns the second-fastest indoor 1,000 meters in team history at 3:11.83. Lambert, who completed a magnificent two-year cross country career in the fall, just missed All-America honors in the outdoor season, finishing ninth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Patricia Joseph (Wichita), who was also a middle hitter for the Blue Dragon Volleyball team, placed ninth in the indoor high jump last season at 5-5 1/4.
Ocean Paul (Beloit) was 18th in the NJCAA indoor pole vault last season going 9-6 1/4. She is one of six Blue Dragons to reach 10 feet. She was ninth in the NJCAA outdoor nationals last year.
Thrower Alex Rodriquez was 10th last season in the 20-pound weight throw. That was the second longest attempt in Blue Dragon history.
Some of the sprinters Becher will be watching will be freshmen Tatyana Hopkins (Maize), Tyra Cullum (Stone Mountain, GA), Claire Olson (Salina) and returning sophomore Marshelle Conley (Marion). Conley and Olson will run more in the 400 and 800 meters, as well as freshman Caitlin Schlickau (Haven).
Becher also likes his distance runners. Saw Ahmara, America Garcia, Aileen Gomez, Yanelly Jurado, Macy Linnenberger, Sarah Patteson, Ashton Schlickau and Carissa Youngs, along with Lambert and Caitlin Schlickau all ran on Hutch's nationally-ranked women's cross country team in the fall.
There are so many good unknowns on this team," Becher said. "We are cautiously optimistic and it will be fun to watch this team develop.
The Blue Dragons look to improve on last year's 11th-place Region VI indoor finish and 15th-place NJCAA Indoor finish.
Hutchinson will compete in five indoor meets before competing in the Region VI Indoor Championships on February 18 in Manhattan.