PITTSBURG, KS – With several national qualifiers out nursing nagging injuries and the distance runners taking the weekend off, the No. 5-ranked Indian Hills indoor track & field squad still put together notable performances at the Triton Kansas Challenge in Pittsburg, Kansas on Sunday.
The Warriors had ten performances take gold, silver or bronze inside the Robert W. Plaster Center on the campus of Pittsburgh State and Coach Brent Ewing was pleased with how his troops prepped for the upcoming Regional and National meets.
“The team showed their competitiveness and their depth this weekend,” Ewing said. “Overall, I’m very pleased with how our team did. We were without four national qualifiers, but it was great to see some people step up and fill their shoes.”
Ewing felt that most notable was the performance of freshman Aurel Tchanbi. The Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire native came to the states four years ago with the dream of competing collegiately.
And compete he’s doing as Tchanbi took first place overall in the 200 meters with a 21.50 torching of the track, which now stands as the second fastest effort in school history, trailing only the legendary Kenny Bednarek’s 20.30 back in 2019. Tchanbi’s 200 meter mark now sits as the second-fastest time in the NJCAA this season.
“He’s living his dream right now and isn’t taking anything for granted,” Ewing added. “He’s really putting on a show.”
Tchanbi added a third place finish in the 60 meter sprint, running 6.80 in the prelims and 6.86 in the finals.
“His prelim mark in the 60 is now the fifth best in program history,” said Ewing. “The thing that stood out to me is the way he won the 200. He ran away from the field with relative ease in the final 60 meters of the race.”
A few weeks back, Ewing noted the progress of Miami, Florida product, Justin Walden. That incredible upward movement continued on Sunday as Walden edged Tchanbi for second in the 60 meters with a 6.84, which qualified him for nationals, and tossed in a 21.92 in the 200 meters, good enough for third in that event.
“Justin continues to run out of his mind,” Ewing noted. “He has ran ten races this year and set personal bests in nine of them. His progression has been unreal. I’m not surprised, though. If you would see how he practices every day, his attention to detail is second to none. He’s just a very technically sound sprinter. He also had a 49.8 leadoff split in the 4x400.”
Also of note was the performance of freshman Ashton Sanders. The former Ann Arbor Huron prep made it a solid Warrior sweep in the 200 meter event as he took second with a 21.88 clocking. Sanders followed that up with a 48.0 split in the 4x400.
“That’s some serious range showed by Ashton,” Ewing said. “He should have a lot of confidence going into Regionals.”
Speaking of Regionals, the Region XI Indoor Meet is this Saturday in Warrensburg, Missouri, hosted by Central Missouri State University. Field events begin at 9:15 a.m. with running events to start at noon.
“Our eyes are set on getting the entire squad healthy and ready to roll in a few weeks for Nationals,” Ewing concluded.
IHCC MEN’S TRACK AND FIELD RESULTS
TRITON KANSAS CHALLENGE
Aurel Tchanbi: 6.80 (60m prelims, 3rd in finals with 6.86), 21.50 (200m, qualified for nationals, first place overall, second fastest time in program history behind Kenny Bednarek, second fastest time ran in NJCAA this year ).
Justin Walden: 6.84 (60m finals, 2nd overall, qualified for nationals), 21.92 (200m, third overall).
Ashton Sanders: 21.88 (200m, second overall)
Kalen Walker: 21.96 (200m, 5th overall)
Nathan Simons: 49.36 (400m, second overall)
Trystan Beckett: 50.91 (400m, big personal best)
Jerry Harper: 1:23.52 (600m, 2nd overall)
Justin Swann: 1:53.79 (1st overall, third fastest 800m ran in NJCAA this year, second fastest in IHCC history)
Jackson Burnett: 1:54.34 (800m, second overall)
Aytonn Bar-Shimon: 1:56.50 (800m, 5th overall, qualified for nationals)
Jaxson Sharp: 8.88 (60m prelims, 8.94 60m finals, 4th overall)
Rylan Seberg: 6.54m (LJ, fourth overall)
Rob Meredith: 13.49m (TJ, 5th overall)