Track team kicks off outdoor season

David Pleyel

The NMU outdoor track and field team went the distance as they started their season off strongly at the Carroll Invitational last weekend in Waukesha, Wisc. The event was not scored, but that didn’t stop the ’Cats from having over 24 top-five finishes, including six first-place finishes.

Head coach Tom Barnes said that the transition from indoor track to outdoor has been a smooth process and he is happy to see the season get underway.

“In a way I almost wish that this meet was scored because we would have won this meet hands down, but even though it wasn’t, we still made a statement,” Barnes said. “Every week we just continue to get better and better.”

Sophomore Nora Kiilunen, shown here running in the 4x400-meter relay at an indoor competition, came in third in the 3,000 steeplechase during the Carroll Invitational last week in Waukesha, Wisc. // File photo/NW

Junior Catherine Angeli was also very happy with the fact that she not only tied her school record in the 200-meter dash which was (25:29), but she also won the event.

“It was a very exciting feeling winning the 200-meter event that’s for sure,” Angeli said. “I remember last year losing to a competitor by only one place and it was disheartening, but this year I came back and won it. There is no better feeling in the world than being able to see all the work you put into your practices and have them pay off.”

Angeli also finished second in the 100-meter dash and was on the 4×100-meter relay team with Samara White, Brittnee Balbierz and Katy Lafayette, who finished fourth. White was second in the long jump.

Bailey Franklin won the 100-meter hurdles and the triple jump. She also was second in the high jump while setting a new school record, clearing 5-7.

Christina Turman won the 800-meter run and was second in the 1,500-meter run. Jaime Roberts had second place finishes in the 100 hurdles and the pole vault. Melissa Christensen was third in the hurdles and fourth in the high jump. Kristen Schulz won the 3,000-meter steeplechase while teammate Nora Kiilunen came in third.

Colby West took first in the 400-meter hurdles and was followed in second-place by Brooke Granquist. West was the anchor of the 4×400-meter relay team that finished second. Sydney Schultz, Katrina Lamansky and Sara Turschak were also on the relay team. Turschak finished third in the 400.

Jessica Krob and Chelsea Farquhar  finished in the top five in the 5,000-meter. Delaney Lovett was fourth in the triple jump. In the javelin, Mariah Beaman finished third and Katie Searles finished fifth.

Barnes said the team exceeded his expectations for the beginning of the new season.

“We basically just started where we left off and kept climbing higher. I couldn’t be happier with the results of this meet and this team,” Barnes said.

The Wildcats make their way back to Waukesha to participate in the Pioneer Invite meet which will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday April 9. The event will be scored.

Head coach Tom Barnes says that this meet will be a great test of the athlete’s abilities and expects to see some high scores all around.

“We look forward to this meet and showing everyone what we are made of,” Barnes said. “We always see improvement every week from our athletes, and it reflects by their performances.”

Barnes said one of the best things about this group of athletes is their closeness.

“We are a close-knit group that strives to succeed in everything it does, and that is the reason we can take any challenge head on and emerge victorious.”