MARION, Ind. – The Goshen College men's and women's track and field teams took on many of the state's best at the Little State Championships hosted by Indiana Wesleyan University Friday and Saturday.
While team depth was hampered by the injury bug, a number of individuals had strong outings for the Maple Leafs.
Freshman Moses Kaelo (Narok, Kenya) continued to come on strong, taking a pair of top 10 finishes to go with a relay top five spot. He placed fourth among Mid-Central College Conference competitors and eighth overall in the 5,000 meters (15:47.04), while crossing 10th overall in the 1,500 meters (4:09.32) just seven seconds back of the leader.
"Moses had two very good races," head coach Doug Yoder said. "He led the 1500 for two laps before dropping back and was also with the front group of the 5k. He continues to improve and is learning how to race."
Kaelo was also part of a Goshen 4x800 team which finished fourth. Along with Tijs Buskermolen (Aalsmeer, Netherlands), Brock GunderKline (Yellow Springs, Ohio), and Daniel Zelaya (Goshen, Ind.), the Maple Leafs clocked in a time of 8:11.10.
GunderKline had the best finish among the group in the open 800 event, taking 10th with a time of 1:57.90. In distance events for the men, sophomore Andrew Witkowski (Goshen, Ind.) took seventh in the 10,000 meters (33:22.68) and freshman Alex Rodriguez placed 11th (5th among MCC competitors) in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
"Alex improved his steeplechase time in his second time out competing in the event," Yoder explained. "He is showing signs of being able to really take off in the event."
The Maple Leaf men also had a few strong showings in field events led by junior Sam Jones (Timber Lake, S.D.). Jones cleared 6-feet, 5-inches, just two inches short of the national qualifying standard, while sophomore Kyle Mishler (Shipshewana, Ind.) took 10th with a height of 6'3 1/4."
On the women's side, the best finish came in the pole vault where freshman Maria Jantz (Newton, Kans.) finished eighth (9'5 1/4").
On the track, the Maple Leaf women's best performance came from Alli Beitler (Berne, Ind.) and Karla Folker (Goshen, Ind.) who tied for 12th in the 5,000 meters in 21:08.5.
"This meet provided us with insight into where we stack up for the upcoming conference meet," Yoder added. "We were short-handed by several injuries which did not allow us to run several relays. We be short-handed again for the conference meet as we will lose 12 athletes to SST (Study Service Term) and off campus May term classes. We will keep working hard on putting together a line up to be as strong as possible."
A few athletes will head to the Spartan Invitational (Manchester College) this Saturday, while the race walkers will be in action at a USATF Race Walk event in Chicago.