BY DILLON SAND
Tayler Fettig, Connie Morgan and Dani Eggleson all represented Central in Allendale, Mich. at the NCAA Division II Track and Field National Championships over the weekend, held at Grand Valley State University.
Fettig went into nationals looking to become a two time All-American and succeeded when she placed sixth in the high jump. She cleared 1.65 meters (5 feet, 5 inches) in two attempts and then cleared 1.70 meters (5 feet, 7 inches) in one attempt to place her alone in sixth.
Fettig was unable to clear 1.73 meters on her next jump, something she has done multiple times during other meets.
“I think that Tayler is content overall with another All-American finish, but she is hungry for next year already and being ready to jump her best at the national meet,” head coach Kevin Adkisson said.
Fettig, still only a junior, will look to become a three-time All-American and set a personal record next season at Nationals.
“The top two girls (who both jumped over 6 feet) are graduating, and it may really open up the door for Tayler to vie for a national title,” Adkisson said.
Connie Morgan and Dani Eggleson competed in day one of Nationals but unfortunately both saw their seasons come to an end.
Morgan, who was battling a stomach flu in the days leading up to nationals, placed ninth with a time of 4:43.72 in her opening heat of the 1,500-meter run, a race in which only the top four qualify.
“Connie was in the pack through 800 meters, but could not find the energy to go with the lead pack as it made a move with about 500-600m left in the race,” Adkisson said.
After coming into the Championships ranked No. 19, Morgan, a senior, would have to have run a nearly perfect race to qualify for the final.
Eggleston also ran into a bit of trouble in the steeplechase prelims and finished in eighth place with a time of 11:11.88 (21 seconds slower than her previous time at the GNAC Championships).
It was Eggleston’s first time at Nationals and first time running in a dense, crowded pack of athletes, which coach Adkisson said gave her a little trouble.
“She had only run three previous steeplechase races, and none of them were in a crowded, pack situation, so she was not really prepared for how that effects being able to see and adjust to the barriers,” said Adkisson.
Although Eggleston ran into some trouble, she’s only a sophomore and has the potential for a great career.
“It is great when you can get talented young athletes to nationals early in their career so they can experience what it is all about and get acclimated to the level of competition and sometimes intimidation that it can bring,” Adkisson said on the potential for Eggleston.
With seniors like Morgan setting the standard, and young athletes like Fettig and Eggleston still with time in their career, the Wildcats will be a serious contender at Nationals in the coming years.