MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Sixteen total All-American honors, one national champion and a runner-up finish as a team highlighted the Mavericks’ latest trip to the national Indoor Track and Field Championships.
Katie Taylor set the stage for a big performance from ‘The Herd’ with a national title in the weight throw, tossing for a personal record of almost 70 feet, while becoming the first Mav in program history to win a championship in the event.
”It’s very exciting. It took a minute to settle in that I actually won and threw that far. After that, it was unbelievable actually. It was nice to see the season come together in the moment I needed it to.”
Teammates Brea Perron and Kaylee Jensen also competing at the championships. Perron earned All-American status after taking fourth in the weight throw.
The three all happened to transfer to MSU from Winona State following Mavericks track and field head coach Mike Turgeon.
”When he came here to be the head coach, we uprooted, decided to transfer and come with him. We’re all in our fifth year. Still have another year next year. That bond has been there since day one.”
They’ve really been able to catapult our women’s throws program up to the next level. As an event group, they’re ranked number one in the women’s weight throw, two in the shot put. You look at all divisions, they’re top ten women’s weight throw group in all divisions including Division I.”
Sprinter Denisha Cartwright stayed busy going four for four with All-American honors in the 60 meter dash, 200 meter dash, four by four hundred meter relay and a runner-up finish in the 60 meter hurdles.
”A lot of people think it’s a lot to handle, but I actually like doing multiple events, hurdles to the 60 dash is fun. Going into each of those events, I tell myself I got this. Let’s do what we have to do. I’ve practiced and practiced and it’s all what I leave on the track when competing.”
Teammate MacKenzie Kuene also picked up All-American honors in the 60-meter hurdles after finishing sixth in the event.
Kuene took part in the Mavericks four by four hundred meter relay, along with Cartwright, Mackenzie Woodard and Nyeaee Robbins.
Those four came through in the clutch. MSU as a team sat fourth in the overall standings before the group delivered a third place performance in the final race, giving the Mavericks sole possession of the runner-up trophy.
”For that last lap, I really just was like thinking tall. It was the most pain I ever experienced in a race, but it was the fastest I’d ran, right. I just kept thinking, chest tall, chest tall, knees, arms, knees, arms, such a weird thing to think when you’re running. I just remember going around the fourth corner ready to hand-off to Denisha, I was whitening out, I wasn’t seeing anything. I was just hoping this was fast enough and gave it all I got.”
The second-place finish as a team is a first for the MSU women’s indoor track and field squad ... creating plenty of memories these athletes won’t forget.
”I’m just super thankful. We wanted this all season. Every single person on the team put their best foot forward. We’ve seen all the hard work behind the scenes. It’s nice to get the results.”
Next up for the Mavericks is the outdoor track and field season, set to begin April 3.