Last Saturday, the men’s and women’s track and field teams traveled to Cedarville, Ohio to compete in the Yellow Jacket Collegiate Open. The Leafs’ day began early with a 5:00 a.m. departure from Goshen.

The weather conditions were less than ideal for an outdoor meet, as the team faced winds of 29 mph and gusts up to 54 mph. Additionally, there was a lightning strike near Cedarville University facility that caused the meet to be delayed by an hour and a half.

For the women’s track team, freshman Mady Axsom tied for fourth in the high jump with a height of 1.53 meters (5 feet, 0.25 inches). 

On the track in the 1500 meter race, junior Mia Wellington ran a time of 5:18.65, placing 18th; freshman Mercy Chebet finished in 5:25.48, placing 21st; and sophomore Stephany Claudio had a time of 5:29.20, finishing 25th out of 57 runners. All three women also ran the 800 two hours later, in which 42 runners competed. Wellington placed 12th with a time of 2:31.81, Claudio finished in 17th with a time of 2:39.33 and right behind Claudio was Chebet in 18th with a time of 2:39.48. 

Junior Willow Kenneda threw in three events. Her first event was the hammer throw, in which she threw a distance of 38.16 m (125’ 2”), placing 23rd of 50 athletes. In the second event, shot put, Kenneda threw 10.35 m (33’ 11.5”), placing 15th of 37 athletes. Kenneda had the most success in her last event, discus, in which she threw a distance of 41.12 m (134’ 11”), earning her third place. She fell just short of the school discus record, missing it by just three inches. Reflecting on her experience, Kenneda said, “Saturday was a good start to the year, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the outdoor season and hopefully some much-needed better weather.” 

Overall, the women placed 14th out of 20 teams.

The men placed 17th of 21 teams. In the 100-meter dash, senior Samuel Stoner-Eby ran  11.09 seconds, placing him sixth of 71 runners. In the 1500, freshman Anthony Roberts ran a time of 4:17.08. Roberts placed seventh overall and won his heat with a sprint finish. Sophomore Jordan Garlinger finished the 1500 with a time of 4:18.04, placing ninth of 96 athletes. Kevin Liddell, also a sophomore, crossed the line at 4:28.91, placing 26th.

 Junior Emanuel Villanueva ran the 1500 in 4:41.10. His sprint finish left his heat behind by a significant margin. When asked about running in the severe winds, he said, “I tucked in behind people and tried to work with what I had. The conditions weren’t ideal, but you just gotta work through it.”

Stoner-Eby, Roberts and Garlinger also competed in the 800 race two hours later. Garlinger placed seventh of 70 athletes, running a time of 2:03.28; Roberts placed 20th in 2:05.86 and Liddell finished 27th, running 2:07.52. 

The next meet is Friday at Marian University in Indianapolis, where the weather is projected to be cold, rainy and slightly windy.