Lancers shine on final day of league championships
Grace’s track and field team wrapped up a memorable weekend on Saturday at the 2021 Crossroads League Indoor Championships.
The Lancers pieced together impressive results in the meet, including 9 school records, 4 individual league champions, 1 meet record and numerous top-20 NAIA national performances.
Overall, the men ended in fourth place with a team-record 95 points. The women also set a new team-high in points, finishing fifth with 81 points. The men’s side of the meet was held at Indiana Wesleyan with the women at Taylor.
The list of impressive performances on day two of the meet included John Green setting a Crossroads League meet record in the 200-meter run, winning in 22.08 seconds. He added a second-place finish in the 60 meters in 6.99.
Bryan Hernandez-Rios came back from a school-record in the 5,000 on Friday to post another record in the 3,000, placing third in 8:38.37. Kyle Smith finished as runner-up in the 600 with a school-record mark of 1:22.13.
On the women’s side, the 4×400 relay captured the league title. The foursome of Nordia Campbell, Ashley Stoltzfus, Gracious O’Connor and Julia Malson ran 3:59.80.
Mallory Hiatt ran a school record in the 5,000 (18:11.37) to place second, adding to her 3,000 record set a day earlier. The distance medley relay team of Anna Hulstedt, Michaela Buriff, Tara Friesen and Heather Plastow finished sixth and established a new school record of 13:01.76.
Rounding out the school-record blitz was Olivia Lugibihl, who placed second in the pentathlon with a total of 2,379 points.
Other placers for the men were: Isaac Findley, 7th in the 60 (7.11) and 4th in the 200 (22.55); Tanner Sallee, 5th in the 600 (1:23.81); Luke Smith, 7th in the 800 (1:58.75); Maurice Macklin, 8th in the 800 (1:58.82); Isaac Beatty, 4th in the 1000 (2:33.61); Dimitri Margaritidis, 6th in the mile (4:23.29); Logan Rufenacht, 7th in the mile (4:24.99); Connor Kitson, 6th in the heptathlon (3,378 points) and 8th in the 60 hurdles.
Also placing for the women was the 4×800 relay team of Kaitlyn Mack, Elizabeth Moore, Makenzie Adams and Heather Plastow, 6th (9:53.77).
The Lancers currently have four relays and several individuals who rank in the top 20 of the NAIA in their events. This year’s NAIA national meet is limiting entries to the top 16 in each event, and Grace expects to have several on that list when entries are finalized this coming week. The NAIA Indoor National Championships will be held in Yankton, S.D. on March 3-6.
“To say we performed well would be an understatement. In the craziness of a COVID season, with the men and women split up at different venues and an unusual meet schedule, our athletes stepped up in a big way,” said Grace head coach Jeff Raymond. “We are proud of how they handled the situation and how they performed.”