Runners compete in GVSU Big Meet

William Burns

Wildcats earn Top-50 finishes against 84 universities in Allendale

The Northern Michigan University track and field team was in Allendale, Mich., competing in the GVSU Big Meet on Friday, Feb. 8 and Saturday, Feb. 9, where the ’Cats had 20 athletes make Top-50 finishes during the two-day event.

Junior Mandy Dye (left) placed first in the one-mile run at last year’s Northern Challenge. Sophomore Larissa Halonen (right) placed second.

Northern arrived at the Kelly Family Sports Center to compete along with 84 other schools and about 1,700 athletes taking part in the event. Among the schools competing were No. 1 Grand Valley State, No. 10 Saginaw Valley State and No. 20 Ferris State.

Senior captain Delaney Lovett said the team is coming together and hitting their stride at the right time and is happy with how the season is shaping up before they take part in the conference championship.

“Overall, we are all really proud of how each girl did.” Lovett said. “We are hoping that this positive energy will transfer over to how we perform at the GLIAC.”

In the one-mile run, sophomore Larissa Halonen placed 13th with a time of 5:16.64. Sophomore Kelsey Noah took 42nd place with a time of 5:50.49. Freshman Catherine Swiderski followed up right behind Noah in 43rd place after running for a time of 5:51.36.

In the 3,000-meter run, five Wildcats took part in the event. Junior Mallory Celaya ran for a time of 10:37.92 and took 16th, while junior Chelsea Farquhar took 20th with a time of 10:47.64.

Senior Rita Woitas finished 29th with a time of 11:02.87, while sophomore Emily Allen finished just behind her in 30th after running for a time of 11:03.46. Senior Brittany Loomis placed 45th with a time of 11:38.06. Farquhar also competed in the 5,000-meter on Friday, Feb 8 and took 54th in the event after finishing with a time of 18:36.75. She said it was interesting that she took part in both the 3,000-meter run and the 5,000-meter run at the same meet.

“A few of us weren’t planning on running in the 5,000-meter run,” Farquhar said. “Coach Hicks threw a few more of us in the event and it was a bit of a challenge to see if we could recover in time for the 3,000-meter run.”

In the field events, junior Cheyenne Stewart took ninth place in the high jump with a leap of five feet, three inches. Stewart also placed 22nd in the long jump with leap of 4.90 meters. Lovett placed 12th in the triple jump with a jump of 10.65 meters.

The distance medley team earned 19th after racing for a time of 12:58.62. Halonen, sophomore Katie Granquist, freshman Jaylee Brown and junior Evelyne Ruiz were representing Northern for the event.

In the 200-meter dash, senior Colby West placed 31st with a time of 26.44 seconds. Sophomore Brittni Wirtz finished 32nd with a time of 26.46 seconds. West also took 26th place in 400-meter dash with a time of 59.96 seconds, and Wirtz earned herself a 19th place finish in the 60-meter dash after running a time of 7.83 seconds. In the 800-meter run, Katie Granquist took 28th after running for a time of 2:22.47. Sophomore Abby Roche placed 48th with a time of 2:27.58,  and sophomore Caitlin Keskey was 50th after running a time of 2:28.06.

The Wildcats will return home this weekend to host their one and only home meet at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16 at the Superior Dome.

Halonen said while a break would be nice, it is the girls’ love for the sport that keeps them motivated throughout the busy season.

“We do what we do because we know it is worth it and we love it.” Halonen said. “We enjoy every second of competing, traveling on the road and making some great memories with friends.”