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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Saturday, June 22, 2024
The Echo
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Track and Field teams finish fourth at conference

21 Trojans will compete at Nationals in March

Both the Taylor men’s and women’s track and field teams earned fourth place in the indoor Crossroads League Championships.

“I’m happy with the way we got the result based on the circumstances,” Head Coach Derek Gay said. “Both teams fought and had people step up.”

First day of the meet for the men’s team saw two school records broken. Junior Damon Knowles broke not only the school record, but also the Crossroads League meet record, clearing the bar that was 5.20 meters high in the pole vault. Junior Liam Hesting broke the school record for weight throw, sending it 17.80 meters — fourth in the meet.

Senior Derek Van Prooyen won a tight 5000-meter race by 1.23 seconds with a 14:41.20. Senior Alex Helmuth finished just behind in third with a time of 14:42.72.

Leaping to a length of 6.91 meters, junior Sammy Sommers placed third in the long jump, earning him All-League honors.

Day two of the meet would see more school records broken for the Taylor men’s team. Senior Matthew Sakeuh broke his first of two school records in the 60-meter hurdle event with a time of 8.08 seconds. The time also broke the Crossroads League meet record as well. His second school record of the day came in the 400-meter race where he clocked in a time of 49.77 seconds, placing fourth and hitting the NAIA B-standard.

Sommers shined again, this time in the triple jump, where he leapt to the league title with a length of 14.27 meters. This was a Crossroads League meet record.

“God is good, and it is all in his hands. Sommer said. “I just have to jump free and have confidence in myself.”

Hesting had another great day, placing third in the shot put with a throw of 16.00 meters, earning him NAIA A-standard.

Van Prooyen earned All-League honors in the 3000-meter race, placing third with a time of 8:28.10.

Day one of the women’s meet saw the Trojans break a league record and win three events.

Dominance in the 4x800 meter relay continued for the Trojans with seniors Giovanna Domene and Abbey Brennan, junior Brooke Studnicki and sophomore Emily Johnson breaking the Crossroads League meet record with a time of 9:23.11.

Studnicki was not done yet, winning the 600-meter race with a time of 1:38.37 for her second event win of the day.

Sophomore Mollie Gamble would unleash a masterclass in the 5000-meter race, winning it by 33 seconds with a time of 18:06.27. That time qualifies her for the NAIA National Championships.

Day two of the women’s meet saw school history set in the mile run. Brennan ran the first ever sub-5-minute mile in school history with a time of 4:59.12, winning the event.

“I have been putting in a lot of hard work the past four years so it was very exciting,” Brennan said of her performance.

Studnicki struck again, winning her third event of the weekend in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:17.49, earning NAIA A-standard.

Junior Audrey Altum recorded a career-best time in the 60-meter hurdle final, finishing second with a time of 8.98, earning All-League honors.

Domene added another All-League honor with her third-place finish in the 1000-meter race with a time of 3:01.95.

The last All-League honor for the team went to the 4x400 meter relay team of Johnson, senior Eden Siples, sophomore Olivia Jeanette and freshman Mikayla Ellis finished third with a time of 4:04.32.

21 Taylor track and field athletes will now focus their attention on the NAIA National Championships on March 3–5 in Brookings, South Dakota.