The Goshen College Men’s and Women’s track teams had a strong start to their 2010 season, with two individuals already qualifying for indoor nationals. Tina Peters, a senior, continues to add to her accomplishments, qualifying for the NAIA Indoor Track and Field Championships in the 3000 m race walk with a time of 15:16.49.  Jake Gunderkline, a first-year from Ohio, also qualified for nationals in the same event with a time of 15:11.31.

The women’s team is unusually challenged this year with low participation. A large number of women also play basketball and will not be joining the team until outdoor season in March. In the meantime, Rachael Baker, a senior, and Karla Folker, a freshman, are the only distance runners. They have begun training with Goshen College alum Petrana Petkova in order to push themselves during practice. The throwers are led by Jessica Steil, senior. She hopes to make improvements under the direction of first-year coach Deanna Kronk, a former Goshen College athlete and national championships qualifier. In the jumps, junior Peni Acayo will be looking to return to the national stage where she competed last outdoor season in the triple jump.

The men’s team should start the season right where it left off last year. The distance runners will be led by a dominant group of seniors this year including Ben Bouwman, a cross country national qualifier this past fall, and former indoor national qualifier David Rumsey. Nick Bouwman and Max Wyse represent the rest of the senior distance runners and look forward to finishing off impressive careers. Others returning to this team include Paul Versluis, a junior, as well as Alain Chaponniere and Billy Funk, both of whom are sophomores. Brock Gunderkline and Jonathan Koerner, both first-years, will round out the distance group. Sam Chege, a senior, will be joining the team during the outdoor season for his final season of eligibility. The sprint group will be led by Tyler Keller and John Tamirat, both seniors who hope to expand upon their strong relay performances last year. Keller will also be competing in the hurdles and will be joined by Ian Shelly, a sophomore, and Dietrich Alderfer, a transfer sophomore. Other members of the sprint team include Juan Carlos Diaz, Andrew Oduor, and Oscar Amaro-Renteria, all of whom are seniors. The men’s throwing group is led by Eric Hostetler, a junior, who is the last of the Hostetler brothers. He will be joined by Matt Webster, a sophomore transfer, and Jason Lauver, a first-year. All three throwers are hoping to qualify for nationals under the guidance of second-year coach and former Goshen College thrower Jeff Hostetler.

The team hopes to carry a great amount of success from the indoor season into the outdoor season in the spring. A strong core of returning coaches offers stability to the program, while several new coaches will help to motivate and push the athletes. Goshen College will host the Maple Leaf Invite on March 27 and the MCC championships from April 30 – May 1. The track and field team has and continues to appreciate the support from all the other athletic teams and the student body. The team hopes to see you out there for the home meets! Even if you don’t enjoy running, the atmosphere at a track meet is electrifying, with something for everyone. Nick Bouwman states it best by saying, “A lot of people think track is stupid because they say you just run in circles, but those people probably didn’t pass geometry.”