Indoor track seasons underway

Despite the cold and the snow outside, the Goshen College men and women’s track teams are in the midst of their indoor track season. Following several earlier indoor meets, the teams had a pair of contests that took place this past weekend in Ada, Ohio and Marion, Ind.

From the men’s track team, two members made the trek to Ohio this past weekend to participate in the 3,000-meter race walk at Ohio Northern University. This race provided the biggest news of the weekend for the Leafs squad as David Horst, a sophomore, qualified for the indoor national championships (March 4-6 in Johnson City, Tenn.) with a personal best time of 16.06.42. Also competing in the race was Jake GunderKline, a freshman race walker. GunderKline had already qualified for the national championships, but he improved his seeding from eighth to fifth with a time of 14:35.05.

While that duo was busy in Ohio, the rest of the men’s team was in Marion at Indiana Wesleyan’s Wildcat Invitational. The top five individual finishers on the day included Ben Bouwman, a senior (third in the 5K), David Rumsey, a senior (third in the 1,000 meter run), Billy Funk, a sophomore (third in the 600 meter run), and Matt Webster, a sophomore, who finished fifth in the weight-throw. Along with the individuals, the Leafs also finished fourth in the 4×200 race and fifth in the 4×800.

The Goshen women’s track team also had important indoor meets this past weekend in which many of the women set personal bests in their events.

Joining GunderKline and Horst in Ohio was Tina Peters, a senior, who is the three-time defending national champion in the event. She continued her dominance with a time of 15:08.35, good enough to win the race and to place her in second on the current NAIA list for national qualifiers.

Also in action this weekend for the women was a contingent of athletes at the Wildcat Invitational. The big stories came from a pair of upperclassmen who improved on their own Goshen College records.

Rachael Baker, a senior, knocked several seconds off of her own school record 600-meter time with a new mark of 1:40.51. It was good enough for a fourth-place finish at the event and less than a second off of the national qualifying pace for that particular race.

Along with Baker, Peni Acayo, a junior,  also contributed to a successful day for the Leafs. Competing in the triple jump, Acayo added six inches to her own school record in the event with a mark of 38’10.5”. That tally set the venue record for the event and also placed Peni third on the NAIA performance list for national qualifiers just a couple weeks before the indoor nationals. Acayo also participated in the long jump, placing sixth with a personal best of 17’1.5”.

Both the men’s and women’s teams had very successful meets this past weekend and look to continue that momentum into this Saturday’s Boilermaker Invitational at Purdue University in West Lafayette.

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Written by Joel King

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