On an evening when most of the Goshen track and field team was in action two counties from home, Maple Leaf race walkers continued to make a name for themselves almost 200 miles away.The majority of runners and jumpers on the track-and-field squads competed Friday night at the Trine University Invitational in Angola, Ind. As Trine does not sponsor race walking, a quartet of Maple Leaf walkers traveled to Cedarville, Ohio and competed in the Cedarville Collegiate Invitational. Despite only having a handful of athletes in action, the men were ninth of 17 teams in Cedarville.
Jacob GunderKline, a junior, finished fifth on the 3,000-meter course in a school-record time of 13:16.29; David Horst, a senior, and Mitchell Brickson, a first-year, both improved their national qualifying seeds in 14:28.61 and 14:42.09. Erin Helmuth, a junior, finished first in the collegiate competition with a time of 15:33.45. Helmuth’s time is the second-fastest race walk in the NAIA in 2012.
At Angola, Goshen’s performances were highlighted by the distance medley relays. The men’s mark of 10:48.35 set by Daniel Zelaya, a first-year; Alain Chaponniere, a senior; Brock GunderKline, a junior; and Billy Funk, a senior, was just eight seconds from setting the school record and 22 seconds off the national qualifying pace. The women’s team (Jenica Corbett and Sandrine Sandrali, both sophomores; Alita Yoder and Karla Folker, both juniors) finished fifth in 14:52.96.
Funk finished third in the 1,000 meters, the highest finish among the several Maple Leafs that competed in individual events. Brock GunderKline won his heat in the 500 meters, finishing sixth in 1:10.68; Zelaya took first in his mile heat but was tenth overall in 4:48.26.
Kyle Mishler, a sophomore, and Sam Jones, a junior, both cleared 6’2¾” in the high jump: Mishler finished fourth, Jones seventh. Thomas Leonard, a first-year, was fifth in the long jump with a leap of 20’9¼”, while Maria Jantz, another first-year, was ninth in her collegiate pole-vaulting debut, jumping a height of 9’3¼”.
The Maple Leaf teams run, walk and throw again this weekend in another pair of events. Friday night, the Leafs host the Goshen College Race Walk at 7:30 p.m. in the Recreation-Fitness Center. Less than sixteen hours later, contestants in the remaining events travel to the Wildcat Invitational at Indiana Wesleyan University. That event begins at 11 a.m. in Marion, Ind.