LUBBOCK, Texas —Southwestern freshmen Molly Schimp and Rayvonne Brown put their stamp on Southwestern track and field’s history by qualifying for the NJCAA Indoor Track and Field National Championsips.
And they both helped cement their legacies by competing well at the meet here on Friday and Saturday.
Schimp nearly found herself on the awards podium at the end of the day Saturday, after recording a big improvement in the high jump.
“Molly’s was exciting,” head coach Bill Huntington said. “She jumped on Saturday. She was toward the tail end because her best height was just the qualifying height. She hadn’t gone above that.”
With opening height set at just 1.51 meters, or just above 4 feet, 11 inches, Schimp missed her first attempt but cleared on her second attempt.
At the second height of 1.56 meters, or just above 5-01, Schimp did the same — missing on her first attempt but clearing the second.
“Then we’re starting to get excited, because the field has dropped out,” Huntington said. “There were actually people who didn’t even make opening height.”
After the bar moved up to 1.61 meters, or 5-03.25, Schimp just barely missed on her first two attempts, clipping the bar with her calves.
Schimp had not cleared 5-03 yet this season, but on her third attempt cleared the bar.
Schimp was among just 14 competitors left in the competition, as the bar moved up to 1.66 meters, or close to 5-05.25.
“On her first attempt, just grazed it a little with her calf,” Huntington said. “Then her second attempt, same thing. It was bobbling. It almost stayed on. And her third attempt, she kind of slipped a little bit on her steps and blew through the bar.
“But, only four people made that height. We really thought she had a chance to be on the podium.”
With it coming down to misses to determine placings, Schimp ended up 14th, as several jumpers passed on the opening height and had fewer misses.
“They didn’t jump any higher than she did, but they had fewer misses,” Huntington said. “Her misses put her 14th, but realistically, only four people beat her. She was so close to the podium. Would have been so exciting to get her up there.”
Brown competed in the 600 meter prelims on Friday.
He came into the meet seeded 26th, but finished 24th with his second best time of the season, improving on his seeding.
“His race was at 6:00 that night, so the way the facility is set up, he had to warm up outside, and it was starting to get a little chilly,” Huntington said. “So I didn’t think he was quite warmed up as well as I would have liked him to have been.”
But, Brown still got out well in the race, putting himself in a position to be successful.
“He went out, his first 250 he was really flying,” Huntington said. “I thought he was on pace to break his own PR, which is also the school record. But he really got tight the last 60 meters. I don’t know if that was he just wasn’t warmed up enough or what. But still, it was an incredible performance.”
Brown ran a time of 1:25.98, for his second fastest time of the season.
“Running his second best time and competing at the national championships, I thought he did a tremendous job representing Southwestern,” Huntington said. “Like Ray said, it was really important for him to go down and represent Southwestern and his teammates.”
Southwestern returns to action by kicking off the outdoor season March 23 at the Viking Invitational in Des Moines.
NJCAA Indoor Track & Field National Championships
High jump — 1. Ashley Johnson, South Plains, 5-05.25; 14. Molly Schimp, Southwestern, 5-03.25.
600 meters — 1. Vernon Norwood, South Plains, 1:17.04; 24. Rayvonne Brown, Southwestern, 1:25.98.