The Goshen College track and field team racked up a total of 24 personal records at the Midwest Indoor Classic hosted by Indiana Wesleyan University on Saturday, Feb. 1. The women posted 10 PRs and the men 14, including a 59 foot, 9 ¼ inch throw by Jacob Gerber that punched him a ticket to Brookings, South Dakota for the indoor national meet. 

This was the first full-team meet of the season for the Maple Leafs, as the Zimmer Indoor Classic was canceled last month.   

Seven athletes competed on the women’s team, in events ranging from the 3,000 meter race to the 60 meter sprint to the weight throw. Four runners posted PRs in more than one event including Lydia Holsopple, a first year; Gabrielle Vogeler, a sophomore; Kadie Spoor, a junior; and Makayla Collier, a junior. Sarah Hinshaw and Alena Miller (both first years) finished with personal records in one event each. 

Collier had the best finish of the women, placing ninth in both the 800 meter race and the mile, posting times of 2:33.86 and 5:42.58 respectively.  

But the five highest scoring finishes for the Maple Leafs came from the men’s side. Gerber’s weight throw, which qualified him for nationals, also earned him second place in the event and Maple Leaf athlete of the week. 

The distance medley relay, comprised of Jackson Steinmetz, Josh Taylor, Seth Weaver and Salvador Escamilla, came in third in the event with a time of 11:06.19.  

And the 4×800 meter relay, made up of Juan Perez, Jackson Steinmetz, Dan Kibet and Solom Weibe-Powell finished fourth in 8 minutes, 30.41 seconds. 

Escamilla contributed another top-ten score with his seventh place finish in the mile (4:31.70), as did Josh Taylor, who placed eighth in the 400-meter dash (52.41).  

Rustin Nyce, the head coach of track and field, said “I thought it was a good meet to start with. It was almost everybody’s first meet of the year, and some people’s first track meet ever.”

Because so many of the athletes on the team are new to the sport and/or to collegiate racing, Nyce said this meet was helpful for getting a baseline. “Now we can start to work on some very concrete growth points rather than theoretical ones,” he said.  

As of now, six track and field athletes have qualified for indoor nationals: Suzette Rodriguez and Jacob Gerber in the weight throw, Salvador Escamilla and Vincent Kibunja in the marathon, Siana Emery in race walk, and Simon Graber Miller in the high jump. The team hopes to hit more national standards in the next couple of weeks.  

Track and field returns to competition this weekend with a home racewalk meet at 11:00a.m. 

Saturday and a partial-team showing at the Hillsdale Wide-Track Classic on Friday and Saturday. A week after that is the Crossroads League Indoor Championship at Indiana Wesleyan University, on Friday, Feb. 14 and Saturday, Feb. 15.