There were team and individual success stories at the Crossroads League Indoor Track Championships on Feb. 16 and 17. Maple Leafs on both the men’s and women’s teams soared above the competition. 

In the women’s 4×400 meter relay, the combined team of Britney Ortega, a sophomore, Mia Wellington, a senior, Annika Alderfer Fisher, a senior and  Naomi Ross Richer, a senior, beat the previous Goshen College school record with a time of 4:11.91. 

Alderfer Fisher wasn’t finished bringing in points for GC. In the mile, she placed second out of 25 with a time of 5:00.89. “I’d never gotten a conference medal in an individual event before,” she said. “It was really exciting to stand on the podium, especially because my parents came from Virginia to watch the meet.” She also scored points in the 800m run and the 4x800m relay.

There were other standout performances on the women’s team from Summer Cooper, a senior, who placed fifth in the mile with a 5:11.77 finish, and Wellington, who came right behind Cooper in sixth place at 5:14.58. 

Willow Kenneda, a senior, finished third in the women’s weight throw with a mark of 15.88m (52 ft), the second-best throw of her career. 

On the men’s side, the standout performance of the day came from Nelson Kemboi, a senior. Kemboi stood second on the podium in the 5K with a time of 14:40.67, a new personal record. “Standing on the podium at the championships was an incredible experience,” he said. “It was the culmination of months of hard work and dedication, and being able to represent my team and my school in that moment was truly special.”

The men’s 4x800m relay team, composed of Anthony Roberts, a sophomore, Kevin Liddell, a junior, Charlie Aldrich, a junior, and Jordan Garlinger, a junior, broke their own school record with a time of 7:51.81. Aldrich, the group’s new member, was competing in his first race of the season, having been cleared to race just days before.

Two newcomers made their presence known at the meet. Danial Murphy and Evan O’Toole were the only first-years to place in the top six in their individual events. 

Murphy placed sixth in the 60 meter run, posting a time of 6.97. O’Toole finished fifth in the triple jump with 12.91m (42 ft 4.25 in). 

Both the men’s and women’s teams finished seventh overall, with matching scores of 49.

The NAIA Indoor National Championship will take place Feb. 29 through March 2 in Brookings, South Dakota. Distance coach Rustin Nyce highlighted the standout performances, but with the championship just around the corner, his focus is on competing well at the national level. “We had some great performances, highlighted by multiple school records and all-conference awards,” he said, “but we are really building for nationals.” 

The Leafs qualified in 26 spots for the national meet, and Nyce is excited to see just how well they will perform.

“I don’t think this group fully comprehends how special they are because it is part of who they are.”