Acayo stars, Leafs shine at Little State Championship

Peni Acayo, a junior, was recognized as Outstanding Field Athlete on Saturday at the Little State Championship on the campus of Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU), where the Goshen College women’s track and field team placed 10th out of 19 teams and the men’s track and field team placed 12th out of 19 teams.

Acayo crossed the 40 foot mark in the triple jump for the first time in her career, reaching 40 feet, 3 ¼ inches and breaking a Little State Championship record in addition to an IWU complex record. She’s currently ranked number one in the country in the triple jump event, and also placed third in the long jump on Saturday with a length of 17 feet, 11.5 inches.

Talking about being recognized as outstanding field athlete, Acayo said, “I was shocked and very honored. It’s such a big meet which brings in a lot of bigger schools and amazing athletes.”

She added that it was on her final jump that she hit the 40 foot mark.

“It was the best feeling ever, and everyone was happy for me,” Acayo said.

Rachael Baker, a senior, also qualified for the outdoor national competition with a fourth place finish in the 1,500 meter run. Rachel Mast, a junior, placed fourth in the javelin event, throwing a career best of 11 feet, 7 inches. Jessica Steil, a senior, turned in personal bests in both the discus and shot-put events.

In the men’s meet, Sam Chege, a senior, topped his own school record, finishing second in the 800 meter run with an outdoor nationals qualifying time of 1:54.35. Billy Funk, a sophomore, finished sixth in the event and broke a personal record for the fourth straight week.

Matthew Webster, a sophomore, broke the school’s discus record for the second time with a fourth place throw of 159 feet, 10 inches. Webster also placed third in the hammer throw, with an outdoor nationals qualifying distance of 164 feet, 7 inches.

The Goshen College men’s 4X 400 relay team, Alain Chaponniere, John Tamrat, Sam Chege and Tyler Keller, placed eighth with a 3:24.78 time.

“Everyone ran really well, we beat our record by three or four seconds,” said Keller, a senior.

Others beating their personal bests include Ben Bouwman, a senior, with a ninth place finish in the 10K, Eric Hochstetler, a junior, with a 12th place finish in discus and Jason Lauver, a freshman, with a 16th place finish in discus.

The men’s and women’s track and field teams will compete in the Spartan Classic at Manchester College on Saturday, April 17 before concluding their team season at the Mid-Central College Conference Championships.

Laura Schlabach
Written by Laura Schlabach

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