Despite temperatures hovering in the 20s with gusts of wind sweeping across the Eigsti Track and Field Complex, Goshen College won 10 individual track and field events in the annual Maple Leaf Invite.
The Leafs wasted no time, opening the meet with a three-person sweep in the 3000-meter race walk. Tina Peters, a junior, took first place with a time of 15.17.35; Tessa Horst, a senior, placed second in 16.10.79; and Laura Stoesz, a senior, followed closely behind taking third with a time of 16.44.24.
After competing in the N.A.I.A. Indoor National Championships several weeks ago, all three women finished under the qualifying mark for the outdoor event held in St. Louis in May. Meanwhile, David Horst, a first-year, set a new Goshen College record, completing the 5000-meter race walk with a time of 32.09.03.
The Maple Leafs continued to hold their own in the 4×800 meter relay even though John Tamirat, a junior, competed with a fever. David Rumsey, a senior; Billy Funk, a first-year; Sam Chege, a senior; and Tamirat finished second with a time of 8.16.77. The four men now hold the record for the fastest 4×800 relay time by Maple Leaf athletes on the college’s home track.
Speed picked up in the 1,500 meter race as Laura Harnish, a senior, crossed the finish line in first place with a time of 4.57.55. Rumsey followed with a win in the men’s 1,500 meter with a time of 4.13.69.
Goshen College later found three more victories on the track. Abri Houser, a senior, not only took first place, but also hit a national qualifying time of 14.94 in the 100-meter hurdles. Chege, with a time of 2.01.41, and Rachel Baker, a junior, with a time of 2.26.71, brought home the final first place track victories of the day in the 800 meters.
The Maple Leafs did not stop with track wins. The Leafs continued to flex strength and agility in the throwing and jumping field events.
Deanna Kronk, a senior, hit the national qualifying mark in a first place hammer throw with a distance of 151’5”. Kronk also brought in two second place throws in the shot put with distances of 38′ 4 1/4” and a 124′ 5” throw in the discus.
Kronk was not the only one to put the throwing competition to the test. Katie Sowers, a senior, sealed second place in the javelin with a distance of 122′ 6″.
“Another highlight was a sweep of the jumps by our Ugandan jump queen, Peni Acayo,” said Goshen College Coach Rick Clark.
Acayo single-handedly dominated the long jump, triple jump and high jump with wins in each. In the triple jump, Acayo’s mark of 35’11 ¾” broke her own school record set as a first-year in 2008.
“We had a good team outdoor opener that displayed quality performances as well as depth,” said Coach Clark. “I was very pleased with the upper-class leadership that was exhibited both on the track and field and also within the team.”
The men’s team tallied a total of 107 points to finish third out of eight teams participating. The Maple Leaf women scored 167 points to finish second out of seven teams participating.
With a full-team season opener behind them, the Maple Leafs will travel to Anderson University on Saturday.