Leafs News
Smith Takes Title, Maple Leafs Go The Distance At CL Meet Day One
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Track & Field - Sat, May 6, 2017

UPLAND, Ind. — Ryan Smith asince dded "Crossroads League 10,000-meter champion" to the laurels of his career on Friday at day one of the conference track and field meet at Taylor University.

Smith opened up a three-second lead on the field in the opening lap and held off Isaak Haas of Marian by more than five seconds at the end of the 25-lap, 6.21-mile event, which he finished in 32:07.62. In doing so, he became the first Maple Leaf since Mollie Nebel in 2015 to win a conference track title and the first male Goshen athlete since Lucas Harnish and Kyle Mishler both won in 2014.

The victory sealed Smith's third all-conference honor in the 10,000 after finishing second in each of the last two years; he became the first Goshen man to win that particular event since Justin Gillette clocked a 31:59.95 when GC hosted conference in 2004.

Gillette's win marked the second half of a 10,000-meter sweep for the Maple Leafs, less than 45 minutes after Heidi Saunders won the same event on the women's side and started a three-year streak in which the women's 10K champion wore Goshen purple. Smith would not have that chance Friday: the women's 10,000 was the only track event of the day without a Maple Leaf entry.

But GC nearly added another all-conference award to its mantel after a career-best performance from freshman Donnae Lipinski in the women's shot put. The Westville, Indiana, native improved her tosses in all three preliminary attempts: after coming within a centimeter of her personal record on the first try, she extended that mark by more than a foot on the second attempt and a further ten-plus inches on the third to enter finals as the fifth seed.

Again, after getting on the board with her first attempt, each Lipinski try in the final round was longer than the one before it. She would finish fourth overall with a mark of 38 feet, 6 3/4 inches, more than two-and-a-half feet ahead of her previous best. Her final result was also the best of the three finalists who completed all six attempts without being called for a foul.

Goshen also added team points for both teams within 20 minutes of track events starting as they posted top-eight finishes in both 4x800 relays: a men's team of Ryan Haggerty, Juan Perez, Luke Graber and Steven Cranston finished sixth, while a women's entry of Chelsea Foster, Jill Steinmetz, Nora Rangel and Megan Graves came in seventh.

For the second straight meet, freshman high jumper Lindon McDonald cleared the same 6-foot-6 height as the champion but finished third thanks to tiebreakers. The Westview High School product passed at the first two heights before clearing the next three on his first try, setting him up as one of six athletes still in contention when the bar reached 6 feet, 4 3/4 inches.

Emil Belmontes of Marian went through on the first try and Grace's Bennett Parker cleared on his second while Marian's Jonathan Greene passed his way to 6-foot-6. McDonald was the only one of the remaining three jumpers to make a successful attempt on his third and last try, whittling the field to four.

At 6-6, all four men missed their first two attempts: Greene also dislodged the bar on his final try, ending the day without recording an attempt. McDonald, Belmontes and Bennett all cleared at their last chance, advancing to 6-7, where all three were unable to continue. With the top three positions set, the final order reverted back to the last jump where one jumper needed fewer tries than the others, locking McDonald into third.

Senior Isaiah Friesen narrowly missed adding to the team scoring in the men's 10,000, finishing one spot and 14 seconds out of eighth place in a season-best 34:00.16. The Maple Leaf men sit seventh and the women eighth, with Bethel and Taylor leading the men's and women's team races respectively.

Farther down the results, Asia Green posted the best outdoor shot put mark of her career (27-4 3/4) while Kelsey Fraley's 13th-place long jump (13-9 3/4) was the longest of her season. In the men's long jump, Andrew Longacher missed a career-long outdoor jump by less than an inch, and Tanner Camp turned in his second-best career shot put performance.

The 51st Crossroads League championships continue Saturday at 1:30 p.m. with finals in the remaining 26 events. Goshen's first competition comes 15 minutes later in the two 4x100-meter relays.

Men:
Team — 7th, Goshen 18
10,000 — 1st, Ryan Smith 32:07.62; 9th, Isaiah Friesen 34:00.16; 14th, Ryan Haggerty 36:14.93
4x800 relay — 7th, Goshen (Ryan Haggerty, Juan Perez, Luke Graber, Steven Cranston) 8:08.34
High jump — 3rd, *Lindon McDonald 6-6
Long jump — 19th, Andrew Longacher 19-3 1/4
Shot put — 16th, Chris Ubaldo 34-11 3/4; 17th, Tanner Camp 32-3 1/2

Women:
Team — 8th, Goshen 8
4x800 relay — 6th, Goshen (Chelsea Foster, Jill Steinmetz, Nora Rangel, Megan Graves) 10:19.71
Long jump — 13th, Kelsey Fraley 13-9 3/4
Shot put — 4th, *Donnae Lipinski 38-6 3/4; 27th, Asia Green 27-4 3/4