First-place finishers: Track and Field goes for gold against top-level competition

During+a+previous+home+meet%2C+members+of+the+Wildcat+track+team+bolt+from+the+starting+line+in+a+competitive+race.%0A%0APhoto+courtesy+of+NMU+athletics

During a previous home meet, members of the Wildcat track team bolt from the starting line in a competitive race.
Photo courtesy of NMU athletics

Travis Nelson

The Northern Michigan Track and Field team gained momentum as it won the Golden Grizzly Invitational this past weekend. In the two-day meet hosted by Oakland University, the Wildcats broke two school records and earned another NCAA provisional mark.

Coach Jenny Ryan said she liked what she has seen from her team, as the conference championships are just two weeks away.

“It’s a really good sign that we’re going in the right direction,” Ryan said. “To break those records, even in not ideal, windy conditions, shows the athletes are training right, getting faster and getting prepared for the conference championships.”

Junior Megan Martin started the first day off for the Wildcats with a school record in the 400-meter hurdles, as she took first place with a time of 1:03.96. Senior Lynsey Collins finished in third place with a time of 1:06.61.

Sophomore Izabelle Peterson also broke a school record, as she took home the 200-meter dash title while crossing the line in 24.49 seconds. Senior Shayla Huebner finished in third place at 24.97.

In the high jump, senior Michelle Juergen posted another NCAA provisional mark, as she won the event with a leap of 5 feet, 7.75 inches.

The ’Cats continued its momentum on Friday night, earning points in four different events. Junior Hanna Torvi won the 3,000-meter steeplechase, finishing with a time of 11:21.93. Sophomore Elise Longley also finished in the top five, placing fifth with a time of 11:52.02. In the 5,000-meter run, junior Katelyn Smith finished in second place with her time of 18:30.05. Senior Abby Fifarek went on to finish in sixth place, as she crossed the line in 18:55.41.

In Friday’s field events, NMU had success in the javelin throw and long jump, as they earned second place in both events. Sophomore Dunja Drobac took second in the javelin throw with a throw of 96 feet, 8 inches, while sophomore Lauren Alarie took second in the long jump with a distance of 16 feet, 3.75 inches.

In the seven-event heptathlon, sophomore Nina Augsten finished with 4,463 points and came away with a first place finish. Freshman Kelsie Sibbald finished in fourth place with 3,817 points and freshman Maddie Campbell was in seventh place with 3,122 points.

In the relays, Northern took home two more titles. The 4×100 relay team consisting of junior Sydney McPeters, senior Paige Dutcher, Alarie and Peterson won the event with a winning time of 47.82 seconds. The team of freshman Hannah Jones, Martin, McPeters and Dutcher went on to win the 4×400 relay as well with a time of 4:04.79.

The Wildcats continued their impressive display, as Huebner won the 400-meter dash with a time of 56.49. Junior Paige Du Bois finished in fourth place for NMU with a time of 59.58.

In the 100-meter dash, NMU had six runners make the finals. Peterson won the event with a time of 12.09, as she paced the ’Cats. McPeters finished in third with a time of 12.53, with Alarie finishing right behind her in fourth with a time of 12.57. Rounding out the finals performers for NMU were senior Jenna Long placing in fifth with a time of 12.62, Dutcher’s seventh place finish at 12.71 and Collins crossing the line at 13.01.

Jones competed in the 800-meter run for Northern, placing in fourth with a time of 2:22.68.
In Saturday’s field events, multiple Wildcats earned points. Freshman Alyssa Rivest finished in third place in the discus with a throw of 120 feet, 5 inches and freshman Ashtyn Buss’s throw of 106 feet, 10 inches was good enough for an eighth place finish. In the shot put, Buss and Rivest took third and fourth place, respectively, throwing three inches a part. In the triple jump, Drobac took second place with a jump of 34 feet, 4.75 inches.

NMU went on to win the meet with 163 points, ousting host Oakland University by 13 points. Northern defeated three division one programs and three GLIAC foes in total at the meet.

Overall, Coach Ryan was impressed by her team’s mental toughness in the meet.

“It was impressive, I didn’t hear any complaining about the weather, they were just tough,” Ryan said. “They went out there and raced hard and did well against some good competition, so it’ll be really exciting to see what’s going to happen in the next couple weeks.”

The Wildcats return to action this weekend, as they travel to Grand Valley State University to compete in the two-day Al Owens Classic.