Records set and qualifications met at Maple Leaf Invitational

Goshen College men’s and women’s track hosted their first home meet of the outdoor season last Sat., March 27 at the Eigsti Track and Field Complex. Combined, the men and women won nine individual events.

As a team, the Maple Leaf men finished in third place overall with 159 points, while the women did one better and placed second with 106.5 points. In addition to that, four school records were broken over the course of the day and five individuals qualified for the NAIA National Championships in May.

Some of the individual standouts were Senior Ben Bouwman, who won the 1,500 meter run with a time of 4:17.89 and first year Levi Smucker, who placed second in the men’s javelin throw. Sophomore Matthew Webster set a new program record in the hammer throw. Webster had a throw of 170′2″, which surpassed an 11 year old Maple Leaf record.

“A lot of people did really well in the different events, which was somewhat surprising,” said sophomore David Horst, who participated in the 5K race walk and 5K run. “It was cool to compete with schools like Bethel, who have a really big team.”

Three of the individual qualifiers were from the race walk events, as were two of the school records. First year Jacob GunderKline and Horst both qualified for nationals with times of 25:38.26 and 26:20.52 respectfully. GunderKline’s time beat the former school record held by Horst. This was the first time that GunderKline had competed in the 5K race walk.

“I’ve done a 10K before,” said GunderKline, “so the distance didn’t intimidated me. I was more intimidated by the fact that it’s more of an all out sprint as compared to smaller distance race walks.”

It was also the first time in school history that women had competed in the 5K distance, and senior Tina Peters was more than ready for it. Peters, four-time race-walk national champion, qualified for nationals with first place and a school record time of 26:13.58.

Junior Peni Acayo continued her impressive form from the indoor season, with a Goshen record in the triple jump. With a mark of 39′ 2 1/4″, Acayo won the event and broke her own school record by more than two feet.

The Maple Leafs next meet is on April 1 in Anderson. They then have a stretch of away meets until the MCC Championships on April 30 and May 1, which will be held here in Goshen.

Written by Matthew Amstutz

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