The Goshen College men’s and women’s track and field opened their outdoor season on Saturday, March 19 at the Dick Small Invitational hosted by Defiance College. Goshen, led by Matthew Webster, a junior, recorded five event wins and 18 finishes in the top five.

Webster already held four Goshen College throwing records going into the meet. Webster added to this tally with a record-setting toss of 180 feet, 10 inches in the hammer throw. This hurl overtook the former Goshen College record set last year, by Webster, by over a foot.

With this throw, Webster met the “A” qualifying standard for the NAIA Outdoor National Championships, which are held in May. The junior also met the “B” qualifying standards in the discus with a launch of 154 ft. 2 in and finished second in the competition.

Three female freshmen and sophomores, Alli Beitler, Dana Christner and Alita Yoder, gave the Maple Leafs great performances. In the 400 meters, first-year Christner ran a time of 65.01 for a first place finish. She followed that up by finishing fourth place in the 200 meters and setting a personal record of 28.67.

Yoder, a sophomore, took first place in the 5,000 meters with a top finishing time of 21:25.44. In the 1,500 meters, Yoder crossed the finish line in sixth place, but was second amongst Mid-Central College Conference athletes. Freshman Beitler kept up with her great performance from the cross-country season with two second place awards in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters.

Other strong female performances came from senior Rachel Mast, who came in third in the javelin, and senior Krista Nussbaum, who took forth in the hammer throw.

In all, the women tallied 58 points to finish fourth. The men won three more events, finishing with 130 points. This resulted in a runner-up finish, second only to Defiance with 191.5 points.

Both men and women compete again this Saturday, March 26, at home, as they host the Maple Leaf Invitational.  This is the only home match for Goshen until May 14, when the Goshen 5K Race Walk is held.