Track team finishes third at GLIACs

David Pleyel

The NMU indoor track and field team competed in the GLIAC Conference Championships two weeks ago on Feb. 25. The Wildcats placed third overall out of 10 teams, with a team score of 64 points, making this the best performance in school history for the women’s team.

Head coach Tom Barnes said that this season has been a blast and the team never gave anything less than their best.

“I have never had so much fun at a meet like I did at this one,” Barnes said. “I just knew that we were going to place in the top three. Don’t ask me how I knew but with all the hard work and training this team has been through, I had no doubt in my mind we were going to be in the top three. This entire team exceeded expectations this meet, no doubt about it.”

Freshman athlete Samara White, shown here in the long jump, earned ninth in the 60-meter dash. // Justin Key/NW

Sophomore Brooke Granquist and Junior Melissa Christensen led the charge as they finished fourth and fifth in the pentathlon. Granquist was fifth in the triple jump while Delaney Lovett was seventh.

Freshman Samara White was ninth in the 60-meter. Brittnee Balbierz finished eighth in the 200-meter dash.

NMU’s distance medley relay team finished seventh. The 4×400-meter relay team finished fifth and set a school record with a time of 4:02.13.

Junior Bailey Franklin was the top finisher in the GLIAC Championships as she won the triple jump, setting a new GLIAC Championship meet and school record. She had a jump of 39-3.25. Franklin won the high jump, clearing 5-6.5. She also picked up two points in the long jump when she finished seventh, clearing 17-4.75. She was also eighth in the 60-meter hurdles. Franklin earned All-Region Status in the high jump, triple jump and pentathlon.

Franklin attributed her success to hard work and a supportive team.

“I’ve had great coaches that have always helped me along the way and very supportive teammates,” she said.

Junior Catherine Angeli broke her 200-meter school record and set it at 25.5 seconds as she finished second. Her new time qualified her as a provisional for nationals. She also broke her school record in the 60-meter dash finishing third with a time of 7.85 seconds. Angeli earned All-Region Status and was ranked in the top five in the 60-meter dash and the 200-meter dash.

Freshman Jaime Roberts had a jump of 12-3.5 in the pole vault, good for third and good for a provisional qualifying. Roberts earned All-Region Status in the pole vault.

Both Franklin and Roberts will be competing in the upcoming NCAA II Indoor Championships. Both competitors expressed feelings of excitement, but both have one goal in mind: to become an All-American Athlete.

“This is a really exciting opportunity for me to prove I have what it takes to be an All-American, but I’m not going to lie, I am a little nervous,” Franklin said.

Roberts said she is also nervous but that the support and direction of her coaches and teammates has helped her, along with all of the practicing she has done.

“It’s a great feeling when you put forth so much time and dedication into your practices and meets that it all pays off in the end,” Roberts said.

The NCAA indoor championships will take place on March 11 and 12 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Roberts will be performing in the pole vault and Franklin will be performing in both the high jump and triple jump.

Editor’s note: Delaney Lovett is Features Editor at The North Wind.