MARION, Ind. and CEDARVILLE, Ohio – Split up at two locations, the Goshen College track and field team had a 'Super' weekend with three more NAIA national qualifying times being turned in.
While much of the sporting worlds attention was turned to New Orleans on Sunday, the Maple Leafs made their marks late Friday night and into Saturday.
Friday saw five Goshen competitors hit the track in Ohio to compete at the Cedarville Collegiate Indoor Invitational. Despite the small numbers, the Maple Leafs continued to make noise on the national stage in the 3k race walk.
Three-time NAIA All-American Jake GunderKline made his 2013 season debut, finishing third among collegiate competitors in a national qualifying standard time of 14:18.15. Already qualified for the late-February Indoor Championships, sophomore Mitchell Brickson took 12 seconds off his season best time to finish in 14:28.27. The duo currently rank sixth and seventh in the NAIA this season.
In the women's race walk, senior Erin Helmuth and Abby Dunn put in another strong performance. They finished one-two among collegiate races in 15:12.09 (Helmuth) and 15:13.39 (Dunn). In doing so, Helmuth trimmed almost six seconds off her career best All-American performance from last year's championships and Dunn took nearly 20 seconds off her collegiate best. The women's duo ranks third and fourth nationally in the NAIA in the event.
Also competing in Ohio was sophomore Jordan Smeltzer, who ran a solid 16:13.19 eight-place finish in the 5,000 meters.
On Saturday, the attention turned to a more traditional team setting at Indiana Wesleyan with a total of 28 Maple Leafs seeing action, including 13 newcomers.
The biggest splash came on the men's side where two more national qualification marks were earned. In his first collegiate track race, freshman Lucas Harnish placed fifth overall in the 1000 meters (2:33.17), while hitting the provisional qualifying standard.
Meanwhile, in the high jump, Sam Jones finished third (by virtue of number of attempts) leaping to a national qualifying mark of 6'3 3/4." The jump equals his own indoor school record and qualifies him for his third-straight (indoor and outdoor combined) national championship. Also in the high jump, junior Kyle Mishler finished fourth, clearing 6'4 3/4." In other jumping events, senior Geoffry Gilot placed ninth in the long jump (19'4") and Kyler Lehman was 14th (18'5 3/4").
The men's mid-distance crew also had a strong afternoon at Indiana Wesleyan with top 10 finishes in the 600, 800, and mile runs. Senior Brock GunderKline took fourth in the 800 (2:00.48), sophomore Daniel Zelaya sixth in the 600 (1:25.58) and sophomore Moses Kaelo seventh in the mile (4:38.87). The trio also teamed with Harnish to run to a second-place finish in the 4x800 relay (8:24.31).
On the women's side, sophomore Alia Munley debuted with a 17th place finish of 8.69 seconds in the 60-meter dash, just .22 of the school record held by Rachel Versluis (2007). Munley also earned a 17th-place finish in the long jump (14-6.5").
Also making her Maple Leaf debut, junior Bianca Brambila ran to tenth place in the 600 meters (1:48.29). In other action, sophomore Ali Hochstetler was 11th in the 3,000 meters (11:37.60) and sophomore Maria Jantz 10th in the pole vault (9'6.25").