MARION, Ind. – Despite having just four student-athletes competing at the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, the Goshen College men's track and field team still managed to earn a pair of All American honors, three top 10 finishes, and a team total which ranked in the top 30 of more than 150 institutions.
The race walk continues to be the Maple Leafs biggest source of hardware, showing a remarkable amount of consistency on the national stage. It marked the sixth-straight outdoor championship in which Goshen has walked away with at least one All American (male and/ or female).
In a steamy hot midday (Friday) race, junior Jake GunderKline (Yellow Springs, Ohio) settled into the fourth spot in the field within the first 1000 meters. He easily held off charges by several competitors earning his second-consecutive outdoor All American honors with a 24:20.70 in the 5k event. Combined with his 2012 Indoor All American selection, it was GunderKline's third-straight national award.
Meanwhile, freshman Mitchell Brickson (Yellow Springs, Ohio) also put together an outstanding race in the same event. After walking in the seventh position for much of the race, Brickson overtook a pair in the last 1500 meters for a fifth-place finish of 24:28.68. For Brickson, it was his second All American honor after also earning the award at the indoor championships.
The Maple Leafs only field event competitor at the national championships, junior Sam Jones (Timber Lake, S.D.) was part of a 26-man field in the high jump.
In his first jump of the championship, Jones easily cleared 6-foot-6. He could not, however, set a new school record by clearing the next height (6-foot-8). Jones finished in a tie for ninth place, just one jump out of All American honors.
The last competitor for Goshen was freshman Jordan Smeltzer (New Paris, Ind.). After participating in the NAIA Cross Country Championships in the fall, Smeltzer finished 27th of 54 in the marathon with a time of 2:49.14.40.
Even with just four competitors, the Maple Leafs still tallied nine team points to finish 27th overall. A total of 63 teams scored in the event with more than 150 institutions eligible to qualify individual participants.