7.30 seconds was all it took for Christian Stevens, a senior, to match Goshen College’s record time in the 60-meter dash. Joe Pepala set the record mark two years ago, and Stevens tied it twice during Saturday’s meet, both in the semi-finals and then finals at Anderson University.Rustin Nyce, the new Maple Leaf head track coach, commented on Stevens’ impressive feat. “To me Christian stood out. Yes he tied the school record but the way he prepares and then races show his passion and dedication,” he said.
Stevens finished 6th in the 60-meter dash and was joined by several teammates in top five finishes. In the 800-meter, Luke Graber, a junior, finished 3rd and Trever Yoder, a freshman, finished 9th. Luke Kauffman, a junior, finished 5th in the 3000 meter, and the 4×400 relay team of Tim Lehman, a senior, Stevens, Graber, Yoder earned 3rd place. Josh Bustos, a sophomore, Alex Steiner, a freshman, and Jose Ortiz, a freshman, all placed in the top 20 in their respective competitions.
For the women, the 4×200 relay team of Melia Watkins and Megan Graves, both juniors, Mara Beck, a freshman, and Natalie Graber, a senior, took home the Leafs’ highest place at the meet, finishing 4th. Beck also finished 7th in the long jump and Graber took home a pair of top-10 finishes in the 1600 and 3000-meter. Watkins and Graves both collected top-15 finishes, with Watkins coming in 14th in the 60-meter and Graves finishing 11th in the 3000 and 13th in the 1600. Junior Taylor Caouette earned a top-20 finish in the shot put, coming in 18th.
Nyce had a positive reaction to the results of the meet. “Overall I think the meet went really well. Everyone who competed, competed well. There were numerous personal bests and a tied school record. Josh Bustos competed for the first time this year and ran a great opening meet” he said.
While still early in the track season, Nyce is eagerly looking ahead. “I hope to keep improving. With the transition I want to make sure the athletes know how much I support them and their success. These athletes continue to show growth each meet and I expect that will continue. I am eager for this season to unfold. There is a lot of potential just waiting to be shown. Each competition I’m waiting for the breakout performance. It will be there,” he said.
The Leafs compete again on Friday afternoon at Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio. A day later, on the 13th, Goshen will host a race walking meet for the second time this season.