The men’s and women’s track teams traveled to Marion, Indiana this weekend to compete in the Indiana Wesleyan Invitational.

The invitational was the fourth meet that the teams have competed in this season. While this event was not scored as a team competition, several Goshen College students placed well in their respective events. 

“I’ve been really happy to notice the improvement over the past few weeks,” said Rustin Nyce, head coach for both the men’s and women’s teams. “It seems like the team is getting back into the competitive mindset.”

On the men’s team, Simon Graber Miller, a senior, placed third in the high jump with a clearance of 1.96 meters (6 feet and 5 inches). He also placed third in the long jump with a clearance of 6.66 meters (21 feet and 10.25 inches).

Also competing for the men were Samuel Stoner-Eby, a junior, and Josh Taylor, a senior.  In the men’s 400-meter race, Stoner-Eby took first place with a time of 50.59 seconds. He was closely followed by Taylor, who took second place with a time of 51.76 seconds. Stoner-Eby and Taylor were joined by Jordan Garlinger, a first-year, and Dan Kibet, a senior, for the men’s 4×400 race. The group finished in second place with a time of 3 minutes and 30.28 seconds.

On the women’s team, Suzette Rodriguez, a senior, placed first in the weight throwing competition with a throw of 16.06 meters (52 feet and 9.5 inches).

Also competing for the women was Maria Maldonado, sophomore, who placed third in the 60-meter race with a time of 8.04 seconds. 

In the women’s 4×800-meter relay, teammates Summer Cooper, Annika Fisher, Teresa Ross Richer and Mia Wellington placed third with a time of 10 minutes and 3.97 seconds.

With just two meets left before the Crossroads League indoor championships, which will begin on Feb. 18, the team is looking strong.

“I’ve been really impressed with how well Suzette has thrown, Simon has jumped and Samuel has run,” Nyce said.

He added that he has seen “dramatic improvement” throughout the season in other track and field athletes, as well, including Arleth Martinez, Sierra Ross Richer and Grace Stevens.

Members of the team are looking forward to the possibility of competing at indoor nationals, which take place in Brookings, South Dakota in March. 

“To qualify for indoor nationals you need to achieve an indoor standard,” Nyce said. “The standards are sent out prior to the season from the national office. If you perform above a standard you are able to compete at nationals.”

Graber Miller qualified for indoor nationals in the high jump, as he reached the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ (NAIA) “A” standard at the Sean Brady Alumni Invitational on Jan. 15. Rodriguez solidified her spot at indoor nationals, reaching the NAIA’s “B” standard this past weekend at the Indiana Wesleyan Invitational.

“I certainly do think we will have more qualifiers for the national meet,” Nyce said. “We have a great group of athletes that work hard.  They will certainly hit more standards and represent Goshen College at nationals.”

GC’s next meet will be this Friday, where they will compete against Grand Valley State University at the Bill Clinger Classic.