The men’s and women’s track and field teams hit the road running last weekend at the second indoor track meet of a season irrefutably changed by COVID-19.Nine weeks after the teams’ opening performance at the Strive for Greatness Invitational hosted by Indiana Tech University on Nov. 19, the full squad returned to the track at Indiana Wesleyan University Friday and Saturday of last week for an event full of broken school records and high-placing finishes.
Maria Maldonado, a first year, led the team in the record department, setting record times in each of the four races she entered. Racing for the first time in a purple Goshen jersey, the first-year surpassed GC’s standing records in both the 60 and 200-meter distances on Friday, only to break both of her own records the following day in the finals.
Maldonado placed third in the 60 and 5th in the 200-meter, an achievement that earned her the title of Maple Leaf Athlete of the Week.
The other event to see a new Maple Leaf record was the women’s 4×800-meter relay. The team, made up of Summer Cooper, Annika Fisher, both first years, and Hannah Kurtz, a sophomore and Makayla Collier, the senior veteran of the group, ran the combined 2-mile distance in nearly 10 minutes flat, surpassing the previous record by three seconds.
The record-breaking effort won the women a third-place finish in the event.
Other top-three performances on the women’s side included second-place finishes for Cooper in both the mile and the 1000-meter distances, a second-place finish for Fisher in the 600-meter race and a third-place finish for Suzette Rodriguez, a senior, in the weight-throw event.
On the men’s side, Simon Graber Miller, a junior and Jacob Gerber, a senior, both finished fourth in the high jump and weight throw respectively. Liam Elias, a junior, led the distance squad with two fifth-place finishes in the mile and 1000-meter races.
Rustin Nyce, head coach for track and field, was unsurprisingly pleased with the team’s performance.
“This year is a lot of fun,” he said. “We’re combining a good amount of experience with a lot of youth, and the under-classmen bring a lot of energy and a high talent level.”
The women’s team has gained eight first-years since last spring, with an additional five for the men’s team.
With the relatively young team, Nyce still wants to exceed expectations.
His goal for his team hasn’t changed; it’s to “be better than Goshen good.”
“I’m not apologetic about saying I want to break as many records as possible and send as many athletes to Nationals as possible,” Nyce said.
The track team’s next competition will take place this Friday at the Warrior Invitation hosted by Indiana Tech University.
The Maple Leafs will also host the Goshen College Race Walk Invitation in the Roman Gingerich Recreation-Fitness center at noon on Saturday.