WICHITA,Kan.- The Wichita State Track & Field team will travel to Nebraska and Kansas State this weekend to prepare for the Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Championships Feb.22-23.
The Shockers will send small groups of athletes to the Nebraska Tune-Up, and the Kansas State Open for one final chance to get ready for the conference meet.
With 32 roster spots available on both the men's and women's teams for the conference meet, several Shocker athletes hope to earn a place on these teams with a strong performance this weekend.
Other Shockers, like senior Cory Beenken, hope to use this weekend's meet to redeem past performances and better prepare themselves for the conference meet.
"I'm hoping to do better than I have in pervious years," Beenken said. "Usually I run my slowest there (KSU Open) and then I PR at conference, which is fantastic."
While some WSU student-athletes like Beenken look forward to competing at the KSU Open, this weekend allows some Shockers a chance to rest and recuperate both mentally and physically for next week's meet.
"We are basically looking at this on an individual-by-individual basis to figure out what we need to do to help each athlete get ready for competition at the championships next week, " said Head Coach Steve Rainbolt.
Wichita State is coming off a week in which Shocker athletes broke two conference records. J'Lynn Ledesma became the first woman in conference history to jump over six feet in the high jump.
"It felt awesome," Ledesma said. "I've watched the video probably 500 times to be honest. Watching that makes me remember it"
Thanks to the efforts of Ledesma and her teammates, the Shocker women also moved up to 20th in the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll, the highest ranking Wichita State has ever held.
"Anytime that our team is ranked that high, it's exciting, and meaningful," Rainbolt said. "When we're not ranked that high, I'm also proud of the balance and depth that we have as a team."
Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton has also helped the Shocker women reach new heights in the national poll. Tuliamuk-Bolton ran the fifth fastest 5,000m time in the history of the NCAA, crossing the finish line with a 15:25.47.
"It really feels good to be part of this team," Tuliamuk-Bolton said. "Since I've been here this is best ranking we've ever had, and I'm really happy to be a part of that."
Wichita State will try to win its 16th and 17th MVC Championships of the Rainbolt era, when they travel to the MVC Indoor Championships at Northern Iowa Feb.23-24. Watch the above video for more insight from Rainbolt, Ledesma, Beenken and more.