Rocky Mountain College track and field athletes ran down the competition on the big stage the first weekend of March.
Two male athletes and two female athletes represented the Rocky Mountain track team at the annual NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championship event in Brookings, South Dakota. The event took place March 3 through 5 at the Sanford-Jackrabbit Athletic Complex. Senior, Jackson Duffy and junior, Jackson Wilson, represented the men in the 5 kilometer race and 3 kilometer race. For the women, Sydney Little Light led the charge running in the 1 mile and 5 kilometers, while Rocky’s
lone field athlete, sophomore Dakota Manecke participated in the pole vault. Result-wise, Rocky athletes performed well; both LittleLight and Wilson earned All-American honors. Little Light placed 6th in the mile with a time of 5:02:97, while Wilson placed 6th in the 3 kilometers, running to the finish in a fast 8:26.16. Duffy threw down a solid time of 15:05.64 in the men’s 5 kilometers. In the women’s pole vault, Menecke made a good showing flying to a height of 3.42 meters.
These athletes are not strangers to the field of top competitors, particularly Sydney Little Light who was the NAIA Frontier Conference XC champion this past fall, but there was something new to see during Little Light’s race day routine this time around. In an act of solidarity and to help raise awarness of Missing Murdered and Indiginous Women (MMIW), Little Light chose to display a red painted handprint across her face on race day during the nationally broadcasted event. This movement is particularly important to Little Light who is a member of the Crow Tribe. Little Light and her community have been affected by crimes against women and suffered several losses. Particularly close to home was the loss of Selena Not Afraid. “She was in my brother’s grade, and I’ll never get the image of her empty chair at graduation out of my head”, mentioned Little Light in a phone interview.
Little Light believes that having a strong community and keeping an eye out for women on reservations will make it a safer environment for everyone. Being an avid member in her community at home and on campus at Rocky, Little Light mentions that because of the proximity of RMC’s campus and the Crow Reservation, she believes fellow students should be aware of this issue. She was proud to wear the red handprint and to perform well with a huge support group from her reservation and school behind her.
Moving ahead and into the outdoor season, the track athletes are looking forward to hitting more personal records and hopefully a few more All-American finishes. Rocky track and field has its first outdoor track meet of the season this upcoming weekend on Saturday, March 19. The event is scheduled to take place at the Lockwood High School Track, so come on down and support your Bears!