The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Track and Field Meet takes off tomorrow morning in Golden, Colo., with area athletes looking to win conference honors and possibly post an NCAA qualifying mark.
The Black Hills State squad takes one returning champion to the event in 2017 women's javelin winner Alexandra Richards. Head Coach Seth Mischke's squad also has three athletes who enter the meet as the No. 2 seeds in their respective events. Sophomore Tristan Hepp of Buffalo, Wyo., is the second seed in the 400-meter hurdles after taking second in that event as a freshman last season. Hepp also finished third in the high jump last year.
The other two Yellow Jackets in the top two are a couple of freshmen in Jordyn Huneke, a pole vaulter from Rapid City Stevens, and high jumper Allan McDonnell of Wall. Mischke has been pleased with both youngsters, while often marveling at McDonnell's mental toughness.
"He doesn't surprise me necessarily in high jump, but it's just some of the things he does. You'll think he's not necessarily going to have a good day and then he gets four, five, six jumps in and all of a sudden he's a different guy and then he finishes well," Mischke said. "Whereas some people when they're struggling it's hard to get out of that struggle mode mentally, with him it can look gross the first two or three attempts and then he gets that spark and he's that guy that we need him to be ... which is pretty cool."
Jeremy Gonzales is the highest-ranked Hardrocker in the event, seeded sixth in the 100-meters.
Events get running tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. at the Stermole Track and Field Complex on the campus of Colorado School of Mines.