Tough start, runners persevere


Alex Skinner

Traveling through the Upper Peninsula can be treacherous at times, and the Wildcat Track & Field team found out first-hand. Falling ice from the top of the Mackinac Bridge halted the Wildcats expedition to Allendale on Friday while on their way to the GLIAC championship competitions. The Wildcats crossed the bridge safely on Saturday but arrived late to the events, and as a result, saw their Saturday points-standing affected.

NMU finished in third place in team standings after the first day and earned second-team All-GLIAC honors in a pair of events and runner-up performances.

The distance relay team, consisting of sophomore Holly Blowers, senior Kieren Becker and juniors Paige Dutcher and Shayla Huebner, set a school record, finishing in 12:1.23 while setting a NCAA Division II provisional time.

Senior Kameron Burmeister earned second-team All-GLIAC honors, crossing the finish line in 17:07.33 in the 5,000-meter run. This is the second time that Burmeister has earned second-team honors on an indoor track, and fourth honor overall this season. Sophomore Katelyn Smith also scored for the Wildcats in the event, finishing in sixth place.

Last to score for NMU Saturday was junior Michelle Juergen in the high-jump, who finished with a jump of 18 feet 1 inch. She placed fifth in the event, with the height catapulting her to third place in NMU’s record book.

Freshman Nina Augten advanced to Sunday’s 60-meter hurdle final, beating her personal best time and finishing in 8.91 seconds.

Dutcher came close to breaking the school record in the 400-meter run with a time of 57.62 seconds, good for second in the NMU record books.

Sophomore Sydney McPeters also moved up to second place in the NMU all-time records with a time of 25.95 in the 200-meter run.

The Wildcats earned five more All-Conference records Sunday, powered behind a schoolrecord shattering 4×400-meter race from McPeters, Dutcher, Collins and Huebner. Their time of 3:49.19 was good enough for second place and set another NCAA II provisional time.

Becker and Blowers finished back-to-back in the mile to earn nine points for NMU. Becker moved into third-place all-time at NMU in the mile, finishing in 5:05.05 and Blowers moved into fourth with a 5:06.72 time.

NMU runners will now wait to see who will qualify to compete at the NCAA Indoor Championship, March 9 to19 in Pittsburgh. Currently, the 4×400 team is set to qualify while Burmeister, Huebner, Juergen and Mylle wait to see if they qualify. They finished outside of the top-16 point getters but could still earn an invitation to compete in the field of 270 athletes.