GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. -- Not a lot went right for the Chadron State College track and field teams at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Meet this weekend, but the Eagles got a "pick me up" in the final event Sunday afternoon.
The men's 4x400-meter relay team placed sixth with a season-best time of 3:20.09 a few minutes after the women's team, even though it did not place, gave Coach Jake Gruver something to cheer about when three of its team members ran their 400s under 60 seconds for the first time this season.
Members of the men's team are Logan Peila, Malachi Swallow, Jacob Jefferson and Greg Logsdon.
Earlier in the afternoon, the Eagles absorbed a big blow when its lead runner on the 4x100 team that was one of the race's favorites, pulled a hamstring and could not get the baton to the second runner. Chadron State time of 40.73 seconds was third best in the conference entering the race, fast enough to be a provisional qualifier for the National Meet. 
But two weeks ago, one of the original runners, Cole Perkins, also pulled a hamstring and had to replaced.  With spring practice finished, Gruver "borrowed" all-conference wide receiver Tommy Thomas from the football team to run the opening leg of the relay at the RMAC Meet. 
Gruver said Thomas was "right with" the lead runners about 90 meters into the race when the injury occurred.
"That was a blow to our team," Gruver said. "We had some other things that didn't go well for us, too.  But we're a young team and we'll keep working hard, learn from our setbacks and get better," he promised.
The CSC men scored just 20 points and didn't have anyone place higher than fifth while the Lady Eagles didn't have anyone finish among the top eight in an event. 
The Eagles' fifths were by Alec Penfield, who went 6-4 ¼ in the high jump, and Kaden Dower in the decathlon. 
Chadron State placed in three sprints.  Ryan Clapper was sixth in the 200 (21.72 seconds) and Quincy Efeturi in the 100 (10.92) and Logsdon in the 400 (49.37) were seventh.
The Eagles added two eighths in the field events. They were by Christopher Jennings in the hammer throw (a career-best of 166-4 ½) and Chayton Bynes in the long jump (22-9).
The fact that Bynes did not place in the triple jump after being the runner-up in that event at the RMAC Indoor Meet while going 49-6 ¼, was a disappointment.  Gruver said the freshman from Chadron is bothered by shin splints, did not his steps quite right and scratched on his first two attempts Sunday. He got a mark on his third jump, but it was not long enough to put him in the finals.
Gruver said the conference meet isn't necessarily the end of the season. He's planning to enter the 4x100 relay team, some of its sprinters and individuals such as Penfield and Bynes in "Last Chance" meets the second weekend in May.  If their marks are good enough, they could still qualify for nationals since they have already provisionally qualified.