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Ryley Wilcox
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I found my passion for journalism during my sophomore year of college, writing articles here and there for the North Wind. Since joining the staff this past semester as the news writer, I have been able...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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Amelia KashianFebruary 22, 2024

NMU has three earn All-American honors

The Northern Michigan track and field team sent three athletes to Minnesota on Friday and Saturday to compete at the NCAA Nationals, with each athlete earning an All-American title.

The ’Cats performed strongly over the two-day competition at Minnesota State University- Mankato, finishing 14th out of 47 other scoring teams.

Head coach Tom Barnes said the school placed higher than they ever had at nationals, and that it was an honor to bring home three All-American athletes.

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“The competition was tough, but they all handled it great,” Barnes said. “They worked really hard and had some of their best performances of the year. We went in well-organized. Their performances killed it out there.”

Ranked No. 13 in the nation, the ’Cats started the weekend with sophomore Jaime Roberts placing sixth in the pole vault on Friday, jumping 12 feet 5.5 inches. The performance marked Roberts’ second All-American finish, receiving her first last year during the NCAA Outdoor Championship.

The ’Cats continued to perform well going into Saturday with senior Bailey Franklin competing in the high jump and redshirt freshman Sherice Hewett performing in the triple jump.

Franklin jumped 5 feet 8.75 inches, placing third in the high jump and earning her second All-American title.

Franklin said, although nationals are different than normal competitions, she was proud of how the team reacted to the change.

“It’s a completely different atmosphere than at most meets,” Franklin said. “You just really have to focus on yourself and what you need while you’re there. NMU sent three to girls to nationals, and it’s amazing that we all walked off that track with an All-American title.”

Hewett performed her second best triple jump in her track career, jumping 39 feet 9.75 inches for sixth place, also getting All-American.

Hewett said making it to the finals was a memorable experience, not to mention a nerve-wracking one.

“It’s still shocking to me when I hear that I made All-American,” Hewett said. “Everyone really hopes to get it, but it was definitely a blessing when I did get it. It feels really good after all of the practice, and I definitely appreciate the opportunity.”

Barnes said the efforts made at nationals were made possible by the entire team, and that everyone was proud of the girls’ performances.

“You can’t think too much about your events,” Barnes said. “We were ready for anything going into the weekend. They executed well under strong competition, as always. Once you realize you’ve made it that far, that’s a proud moment for everyone.”

Franklin said, although the NCAA Nationals wrapped up the indoor season for the ’Cats, the team is looking forward to upcoming outdoor competitions.

“Outdoor is starting pretty quickly,” Franklin said. “Seven of us are being sent to California on Wednesday, so that will be exciting. Events change a little for some people when we head outdoors, but it will be exciting to see what NMU can do in the outdoor season.”

Hewett said the team is feeling optimistic as they go into the outdoor season, with athletes already peaking in their particular events.

“I think the outdoor season is going to be very successful,” Hewett said. “I honestly have faith that even more of us will make it to nationals, and we love being outside.”

The next meet for the ’Cats will be at noon on Saturday, March 17 at the Aztec Invitational in San Diego, Calif.

“I would like to thank the Athletic Department and Northern Michigan University for all of their support,” Barnes said. “Without all of the support that they give us going into our meets, we would not be where we are now.”

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