The NMU outdoor track and field team’s season officially ended on May 28 at the NCAA Championships in Turlock, Calif. Freshman pole vaulter Jaime Roberts was the lone representative for the Wildcats as she made school history by becoming the first freshman to obtain All-American status at the NCAA tournament.
Roberts said that she was very excited about the opportunity and can’t wait to see what next year will bring.
“For me it was a very emotional and personal accomplishment to get this far,” Roberts said. “It still hasn’t quite sunk in yet that I am an All-American but just knowing that I earned it every step of the way is very fulfilling. I am thankful for all the support I received from my teammates and coaches and look forward to next season.”
Roberts was ranked third at the tournament and in the regional standings, and overall she was ranked ninth in the country. With Roberts’ results at the NCAA tournament, NMU has moved up in the national rankings to 37th in the country.
Head coach Tom Barnes said that he is proud of Roberts and his team’s accomplishments and has high expectations for next season.
“My expectations for this past season were surpassed, to say the least,” Barnes said. “This team has such a great attitude and always remains focused on the goals they set for themselves. With over 30 personal and seasonal records set for the outdoor season, I have the utmost confidence we will have our best year yet next season.”
The final outdoor team meet was the GLIAC Championships held from May 3 through May 6. In Midland, Mich. The Wildcats finished in fifth place, with a point total of 62.5, being surpassed by Ashland, Findlay, Grand Valley and Hillsdale.
Bailey Franklin was the GLIAC champion in the triple jump with a jump of 38-7.5 feet. She also placed sixth in the high jump.
Catherine Angeli broke her 100 and 200-meter dash records. She broke her 100 dash record (12.10 seconds) on Thursday, May 5 in the preliminary round of the 100 and broke her 200 dash record (24.81 seconds) in the finals on Friday, May 6. Angeli placed second in both events.
Brooke Granquist earned fourth, and Delaney Lovett (sixth) also placed in the triple jump.
The 4×100-meter relay team finished fourth. Samara White, Katy Lafayette, Balbierz and Angeli were the members of the squad. NMU’s other relay team finished eighth in the 4×400. Members of the relay team were Katrina Lamansky, Colby West, Sara Turschak and Sydney Schultz.
Melissa Christensen and Colby West finished 10th in the high jump and 400 hurdles, respectively.
Senior Brittnee Balbierz said that it was sad that this meet was her last but her time at NMU was an experience she will never forget.
“I pushed myself very hard because this being my last meet, I wanted to go out on a high note,” Balbierz said. “You think you have all the time in the world when you first join a team, but before you know it your time is up. I will really miss my coaches and teammates, but the lessons and experience that I have gained are things I will treasure forever.”
The NMU team will also be losing four other seniors along with Balbierz, which include Kristen Hoklas, Jessica Krob, Christina Turman and Kristen Schulz.
Head coach Tom Barnes said that losing athlete is never an easy thing, and to explain what they meant to the team cannot be put into words.
“It’s always tough when you lose good people,” Barnes said. “Every single one of them had such a great attitude and always stayed positive no matter what. Sure, we always get new players to replace the ones that leave, but we always tell them you have big shoes to fill every time.”