The Goshen College men’s and women’s track teams competed this past Friday at Grand Valley State University and Saturday at Taylor University, with numerous team members setting school records and topping ‘A’ standards to qualify for nationals.

Mathew Keitany, a junior, ran a time of 8:25.85 in the 3000-meter at Grand Valley State, breaking Nelson Kemboi’s previous indoor record of 8:26.43. 

The next day at Taylor, Kemboi, a senior, qualified for nationals with a time of 8:35.76; the time, when adjusted for the disadvantage of Taylor’s 200-meter track, also came in under the 8:30.00 national standard. 

Drew Hogan, a sophomore, ran a 4:14.77 in the mile, breaking Keitany’s record and narrowly passing the 4:15.0 nationals standard. Mia Wellington, a senior, broke the women’s 600-meter school record with a time of 1:40.22. 

Annika Alderfer Fisher, a senior, ran a 5:04.45 in the mile, coming in under the standard of 5:05.5. According to her, Grand Valley State’s facility has a 300-meter track and better ventilation from doors and windows compared to other indoor tracks. Taylor’s facility is much smaller, with a 200-meter track. 

Kevin Liddell, a junior who placed second in the men’s 600 with a time of 1:25.46, spoke to the difficulty of running on the shorter track. 

“Oh man,” he said, “the corners turning on a 200-meter track [are] so much harder … You’re trying to keep going straight, but you’re turning at the same time, which makes me feel like I’m leaning over the side of the track. … Sometimes I catch myself slipping out into the lane.”

Track length isn’t the only difference between indoor and outdoor track: athletes also experience difficulty breathing at indoor competitions due to the air quality of ventilation.

 “It’s so dry,” Liddell said. “We have this thing that we call ‘track hack’ — after the race, everyone’s coughing. I bring cough drops and gum and chapstick to make sure my whole mouth is moisturized.”

“‘Track hack,’ as it was coined for me in high school,” Alderfer Fisher said, “is just to be expected if you’re going to race inside.”

She mentioned, however, that endurance indoors was something that could be built up. “Just doing a couple workouts on GC’s indoor track, your lungs definitely adjust to running inside.”

Between running indoors and running in freezing cold weather, keeping in shape over the winter requires a special kind of tenacity.

“If I don’t run,” Liddell said, “I know my teammates are running, so that’s one of my motivations. Also, everybody’s there to run. No one’s there to sit around, and no one really complains about the cold, even though we all recognize it’s freezing outside. We go do it because that’s what needs to be done, and we all want to win something.”

Alderfer Fisher mentioned the looming outdoor season as a key motivating factor: “Knowing that we have a season that’s on a certain timeline,” she said, “if you get behind in training, there’s not much time to make it up.”

Even amidst the winter doldrums, Coach Rustin Nyce hopes attention is paid to the track team’s success and progress.

“I would just encourage anybody who’s paying any attention to watch what they’re doing because it’s pretty impressive to see,” he said. “It’s just a really impressive deep group of people competing at a high level, but also just really likable people who do well on the track.”

Full meet results are available at