Runners and jumpers shine at the Big Meet

Travis Nelson

The Northern Michigan Wildcats Women’s Track and Field team traveled to Grand Valley State University for the Big Meet Invitational this past weekend, as they took eighth place out of 35 total teams, setting three provisional marks along the way. NMU is on a collision course with the GLIAC Championships in a couple weeks, and coach Jenny Ryan likes the progression of the team throughout the year.

“We’ve definitely had some good results and some good performances [this season],” Ryan said. “[We’ve] definitely [had] some great competition, so it was good to see where everybody stacked up against some of the other teams. [We] had a lot of personal records and a couple provisional marks. So I was really happy to see the direction we’re going and it’s looking good for conference.”

On Friday, Michelle Juergen took home NMU’s only first place victory in the long jump with a winning jump of 18 feet, 8.75 inches. Juergen also placed third in the high jump, with a jump of 5 feet, 6.5 inches, with both jumps setting her provisional marks. Sophomore Dunja Drobac finished in seventh place in the triple jump with a distance of 36 feet, 5.75 inches.

Senior Shayla Huebner finished in 10th place in the 800-meter run, with a time of 2:11.93 and a provisional mark. Huebner was also a part of the 4×400 team along with junior Sydney McPeters, junior Paige Du Bois and senior Paige Dutcher, as they finished in seventh place with a time of 3:51.54. Dutcher would also go on to place ninth in the 400-meter dash with a time of 57.45 seconds.

In the 60-meter hurdles, sophomore Nina Augsten posted 13th place with a time of 9.10 seconds. Sophomore Izabelle Peterson also captured a 13th place finish, as she had a time of 25.34 in the 200-meter dash.

The Wildcats continued to have success into Saturday, the second and final meet of the weekend. Juergen placed second in the both the high jump and triple jump, earning leaps of 5 feet, 4.5 inches and 38 feet, 1.25 inches respectively. Drobac took eighth in the triple jump with a jump of 34 feet, 9 inches. In the 4×400 relay, the team of freshman Hannah Jones, senior Lynsey Collins, junior Megan Martin and freshman Sydney Ormsbee posted a time of 4:10.09, which earned them tenth place. In the 60-meter dash, Peterson crossed the line with a time of 7.90 seconds to finish in eighth place in the preliminary race. McPeters had a good showing as well, as she placed 14th overall with a time of 7.98 seconds.

Multiple NMU runners would go on to place in the top 20 as well, as Saturday proved to be another successful day for the ’Cats. Collins took 19th in the 400-meter dash with a time of 59.82 seconds, as did Jones, as she recorded a time of 2:21.02 in the 800-meter run.

Augsten took home 19th place in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 9.52 seconds, while the team of Du Bois, Dutcher, Huebner and sophomore Elise Longley posted a time of 12:35.75 in the Distance Medley, good for an 18th place finish. Freshman Alyssa Rivest had a throw of 37 feet, 7 inches in the shot put to finish in 20th place.

The Wildcats finished in eighth place overall finish with 16 points as NMU finished second among GLIAC schools, trailing only Grand Valley State University, and finished fifth among NCAA Division II schools.

The team returns to action this weekend as they compete in the Titan Challenge, hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. This is the Wildcats final meet before the GLIAC Championships, and it gives athletes one last chance to earn provisional marks to qualify for the National Championships.

“This meet we are not bringing the whole team, only a few of the top [athletes],” Ryan said. “We’re bringing the 4×400 [team], a couple of 800-meter runners, Michelle [Juergen] to do high and long jumps, and just the kids that are close to hitting a national mark just to give them one more opportunity. Then everyone [else] can just stay and rest, and prepare for the conference championships.”