Track and field excel at perfect time in season

Cody Boyer

The Northern Michigan track and field team hit the track running at the Superior Dome last weekend.

The ’Cats competed alongside three other schools in the GLIAC conference and St. Scholastica, including Michigan Tech, Lake Superior State, Wisconsin-Superior and came out with nine first place finishes.

Coach Tom Barnes said the team has performed excellent lately and has been looking forward to returning home for the Northern Challenge.

“It’s great to be home,” Barnes said. “The atmosphere is great in the Dome and the team has really been focusing on goals and being confident. The home setting is a great place to focus on executing properly and we did just that.”

The day started out strong with three ’Cats leading the 5,000-meter run. Sophomore Chelsea Farquhar took first place, followed by sophomore Rita Woitas, and junior Brittany Loomis. In the 55-meter dash, freshman Angelina Howard took first place and broke the school record with a time of 7.17 seconds, and Senior Catherine Angeli placed second.

Angeli said the team was focusing on the little things coming into the weekend.

“Our coach has been telling us to stand tall and finish strong,” Angeli said. “I felt good running back home, especially alongside Angelina’s fast running start. It was a great feeling.”

Angeli excelled in the 200-meter dash, breaking her old personal record with a time of 25.15. Howard also ran in the event, placing third.

“Being able to execute well has been something that we are really excited about,” Angeli said. “I’m really proud of everyone.”

The ’Cats also dominated the 55-meter hurdles, with redshirt freshman Sherice Hewett in first, followed by sophomore Katie Searles and junior Brooke Granquist. Hewett set another record in the race with 8.45 seconds.

Granquist said the team has been doing a good job at beating records every week.

“I was extremely happy with my prelim hurdles,” Granquist said. “Like our coach always say, we’ve done the work. Now we just have to relax and focus on our events.”

Senior Bailey Franklin placed first, jumping a height of 5 feet 8 inches, and Katelyn Macaulay placed third.

Franklin said, although it was her last meet at home, she felt great with her abilities as the team goes forward into the conference.

“We only get to meet at home once a year, so it is a little hard,” Franklin said. “My goal for high jump has been the same since my freshman year in high school, which has been my own height. By the end of the year, it is going to happen.”

At the pole vault, sophomore Jaime Roberts set a record with a 12 feet 8 inch jump, beating her previous record and taking first place. Roberts was named GLIAC indoor track and field athlete of the week. Sophomore Mandy Dye took first in the mile run and senior Mallory Celaya took first in the 3,000-meter run.

“By far, our best meet of the year,” Barnes said. “We did fantastic throughout the day, but the meet doesn’t just go by itself. Each person on the team has been whittling away at their own personal records, and their effort has been bringing them results.”

Along with being a record-setting meet, the day marked the senior’s last performances at home before they graduate from NMU.

In the introduction ceremony, Barnes addressed the seniors of the team.

“Just look what these seniors and captains have done,” Barnes said. “They came to the team as good people and they will be leaving us as good people. If you watch their performances today, you will see something truly special.”

The ’Cats next meet takes them to the 2012 GLIAC Indoor Track and Field Championships at Findlay, Ohio on February 24 and 25.

“We look forward to moving forward,” Barnes said. “All we have to do is stay relaxed, be confident, do what we have practiced and we will go on to be successful.”