UPDATE (3/5): The race walkers led Goshen to Top 30 finishes on both the men's and women's side of the championships. The women finished 26th and men 27th overall out of more than 125 participating institutions. It was also the highest combined finish by a Mid-Central College Conference institution.
GENEVA, Ohio – Race walkers again made noise for the Goshen College track and field team as they earned three All American honors at the NAIA Indoor National Championships on Friday.
The three All American honors is the most ever for the Maple Leafs in a single indoor championship – the best single event total is four set at the 2007 outdoor championships in Fresno, Calif. The trio also make it 12 All American honors (combined indoor and outdoor) for Goshen in the sport of race walking since Tina Peters ('10) began her storied Maple Leaf career in 2007.
The lone female representing Goshen at this year's championships, junior Erin Helmuth (Elkhart, Ind.) was the first to hear the starting gun. An All American with a sixth-place finish last year, Helmuth earned her second straight.
In shaving more than 15 seconds off her career best, Helmuth took national runner-up honors with a time of 15:18.07. She also extended Goshen's streak to six-straight years with at least one female All American in the 3k indoor race walk.
The men's race walk immediately followed the women's race and saw three Maple Leafs in action. Fresh off outdoor All American honors in 2011 (sixth place), junior Jake GunderKline (Yellow Springs, Ohio) continued his assault on the Goshen College record book.
He broke his own school record in the event for the third time this season, finishing fourth in 13:06.03. Mitchell Brickson (Yellow Springs, Ohio) became the first male in program history to earn All American honors in his freshman indoor season after walking to sixth place. Also a personal best, Brickson crossed the line in 14:16.54.
Senior David Horst (Dalton, Ohio) was also in the championship field for the second time in his career. He walked to ninth place in 14:52 before being disqualified for too many infractions during the race.
Also competing on Saturday for Goshen was junior Sam Jones (Timber Lake, S.D.). The relative newcomer to the high jump, broke the school record earlier in the season to qualify for the championships, but was not able to post a height in Ohio and tied for 16th place.
The Maple Leafs will open their outdoor season when they travel to the Dick Small Invitational at Defiance College on March 24.