Four national qualifiers highlight track opener

Goshen College’s men’s and women’s track and field seasons started off on the right foot last weekend at the University of Findlay Classic.

With only a handful of athletes participating, the Maple Leafs had four athletes qualifier for the NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships in March and also saw a school record fall in the process.

The race walk has been a big part of Goshen’s success on the track in recent years. All four of the college’s national qualifiers came from the 3k race walk. Jacob GunderKline, a junior, broke his own school record in the event.

GunderKline’s time of 13:39.26 was sixth overall in the event and second among college competitors, and shattered his previous record of 14:07.58.

Joining GunderKline at nationals will be two other members of the men’s team. Mitchell Brickson, a first-year, clocked in at 14:56.79, while David Horst, a senior, qualified by less than a second at 14:59.83.

On the women’s side, Erin Helmuth, a junior, will also return to the national championships. After finishing sixth at the 2011 championships to earn All-American honors, Helmuth qualified for 2012 nationals with a personal record of 15:52.90.

The 4×800 relay team of Billy Funk, a senior; Alejandro Rodriguez, a freshman; Jordan Smeltzer, a freshman and Brock GunderKline, a junior, finished sixth with a time of 8:32.84. Also Funk, Alain Chaponniere, a senior, GunderKline and Smeltzer finished in seventh place in the distance medley with a time of 11:08.03.

Other Maple Leaf performances:

At Findlay: Men’s 3,000-meter race walk: 14th, Barrett Donna 18:07.29; Men’s 4×800-meter relay: 6th, Billy Funk, Alejandro Rodriguez, Jordan Smeltzer, Brock GunderKline 8:32.84. Men’s distance medley relay: 7th, Funk, Chaponniere, B. GunderKline, Smeltzer 11:08.03.

At Trine: Men’s 400-meter dash: 6th, Kyler Lehman 55.64. Men’s 3,000-meter run: 3rd, Moses Kaelo 9:46.81. Women’s 3,000-meter run: 7th, Alli Beitler 13:15.99. Long jump: Lehman 19’9¾”. Pole vault: 6th, Oscar Amaro-Renteria 10’6″.

By Shane Miller

Contributing Writer

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Written by Tony Miller

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