Colleen Slattery, Sports Editor
After a brief, two-week hiatus, the University of Dallas men’s and women’s track-and-field teams hit the ground running at the 2014 War Hawk Classic, hosted by McMurry University in Abilene, Texas. The field of competition was difficult, with many Division II teams coming out to run, including McMurry, Abilene Christian University, Hardin-Simmons University, Eastern New Mexico University, Northwood University, Sul Ross State University, Tarleton State University, Texas Wesleyan University, Wayland Baptist University and West Texas A&M University.
The two-day meet began Friday, March 20, with the throwers competing in the javelin, discus and shot put. New competitor and junior Taylor Suggs claimed an impressive third place in the javelin competition with a throw of 18.38 meters. On the men’s side, freshman Nick Dodson, hailing from North Carolina, made his debut by throwing 29.22 meters in the javelin and 26.89 meters in the discus. Dodson then proved that he is not a one-dimensional athlete by competing in the men’s 4×100-meter relay the next day.
On Saturday, the races began under gray skies paired with a chill wind, but as the day progressed, the sun eventually came out. The men began the day by running the 5k on the track. Sophomore Ryan McAnany and freshman Kevin Doherty, both hailing from Kansas, took sixth and eighth in the event, respectively.
The men’s steeplechase was a high point for the men’s team. Sophomores Austin Strain and Zach Zendt competed in the event for the first time this year. Strain finished the 3,000-meter course with a time of 11:24 (fourth place), and Zendt finished with a time of 11:51 (seventh place).
This past weekend, the women’s sprinting squad found a new and valuable asset in junior mid-distance runner Danielle Pajak. Pajak, who runs cross country and typically competes in the 800-meter run, competed in both the open 400- and the open 200-meter dashes on Saturday. She ran to a season’s best time in both events, with a time of 1:04 in the 400 and 28.98 seconds in the 200. Freshman Katie McIntyre continued her spectacular performance on the sprinting squad with a time of 1:02 in the 400 and 27.01 seconds in the 200.
The freshmen women are proving their strength and depth on the track and in the field as the season progresses. Freshman Elizabeth Depew, the team’s sole hurdler, competed in both the 100- and the 400-meter hurdles this past weekend. Taking 10th in the 100 and ninth in the 400, Depew struggled amid a majority of Division II competitors but ultimately came out a stronger and more experienced racer.
The Crusaders will head to Shawnee, Oklahoma next weekend for the Okla., Baptist University Indoor Meet.