The men’s and women’s track and field teams traveled to Taylor University this past weekend to compete in the Crossroads League Championship. Both teams finished with scores good enough to place themselves in the top 10.
First-year Simon Graber Miller highlighted the men’s team effort by posting a school-record high jump mark. The 6 feet 7.75 inch leap also met the NAIA ‘A’ standard and secured a fourth-place finish at the meet.
With a throw of 49 feet 5 inches, sophomore weight thrower Jacob Gerber joined Graber Miller with a fourth-place finish of his own.
Junior Vincent Kibunja continued his decorated collegiate career by earning All-Conference honors by placing second in the 1000 meter run with a time of 2:36.59. Finishing right behind him in that race was sophomore Salvador Escamilla, who posted a time of 2:40.58, good enough for sixth place.
First-year Liam Elias rounded out the top 10 men’s finishers with a 8:57.10 time in the 3000 meters, a personal record and a seventh-place finish.
In the relays, the 4×400 team of Elias, junior Ollie Smith, first-year Josh Taylor and senior Ari Benjamin took home a sixth-place finish with a time of 3:34.00. The 4×800 squad made up of Elias, Kibunja, Escamilla and Smith had a sixth-place finish of their own.
On the women’s side, sophomore Suzette Rodriguez topped her personal-best weight throw by achieving a meet-record 53 feet 5.5 inches. This broke the school record set in 2008 by over a foot and met the NAIA ‘A’ standard, moving her up to the 12th-ranked athlete in the country for the event.
Sophomore Makayla Collier also contributed to the team score with an eighth-place finish in the 400 meters with a 1:03.36 time.
Rounding out the women’s top 10 finishers was junior Donnae Lipinski. Lipinski threw 34 foot 6.25 inches in the shot put, giving her a 10th place finish.
In the 3000 meter run, sophomore Ariana Perez Diener took 12th place with a time of 11:21.97. Junior Siana Emery’s 11:48.72 time was good enough for 16th place and was a personal record by more than 20 seconds.
While the full squad will not race again until the outdoor season, the Maple Leaf race walkers will return to action Saturday, Feb. 16 at the RFC starting at 11 a.m.