The men’s and women’s track and field teams will be traveling to Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) to compete in the Crossroads League Indoor Championships on Friday and Saturday.The last two weeks have been full of success — including breaking a school record.
On Feb. 4, the Leafs competed at Indiana Wesleyan in the IWU Midwest Classic. The meet started off well for the Maple Leafs, with a National ‘A’ Standard by the women’s 4×800 relay.
Juniors Summer Cooper and Mia Wellington, sophomore Stephany Claudio and freshman Britney Ortega ran a combined time of 9:43.28. This time earned them third in the meet — and ninth in the nation.
In the meet’s next race, the men also competed in the 4×800. Sophomores Jordan Garlinger and Kevin Liddell and freshmen Drew Hogan and Anthony Roberts ran a time of 7:55.66, placing them third in the meet and seventh in the nation.
They not only earned a National ‘A’ Standard, but the time broke the 4×800 school record.
Additionally, Samuel Stoner-Eby ran the 400 in a time of 49.67, earning him a ticket to Nationals in South Dakota and a National ‘B’ Standard.
According to distance coach Rustin Nyce, the performances in the past few weeks have ignited a sense of optimism. “I’m eager to watch each one of the distance athletes run their PR, break a school record and hit a national standard,” Nyce said.
In the distance squad, Garlinger is focusing on the Distance Medley Relay (DMR). He said that the team will be “running our DMR for the first time, in hopes we hit ‘A’ standard and break the school record. I’m a little nervous about it being our only shot, but we’ll get it done.”
The DMR is a relay in which all four legs are different distances. First is a 1200 meter leg, which hands off to the 400 meter leg. Next up is the 800 meter leg, and the final leg is 1600 meters.
Stoner-Eby, the only sprinter on the relay team, runs the 400 meter leg. He said, “I always really enjoy the conference meet … I’m looking forward to running the DMR for the first time and qualifying for nationals. I’m also excited to compete for an all conference spot in the open 400.”
The women’s team is also running a DMR. Ortega expressed her excitement, saying: “I love DMR because of the hype and the energy and passing the baton to my teammates. I want to hit a standard and possibly break the record.” The DMR is the final race on the first day of the meet.
Head coach Sean Foulkes shared his overall anticipation of the conference meet, saying, “I feel confident in our athletes to perform at a high level … We have the ability to score well in some individual events headlined by our distance runners with sprints, jumps, and throws all chipping in.
“While we don’t have the depth as a team … our goal is to use this meet as a benchmark moving forward to say ‘this is where we came from, not where we are headed’ because this team has a lot left to accomplish.”
Claudio said, “I am most excited to finally see the hard work pay off for the whole team. We’ve worked really hard this season to hit standards, and we have a few, but not all.”