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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
The Echo
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Spring teams perform well to finish year

Multiple teams look to nationals

Conference tournament results for Trojans athletics this spring were a mixed bag, with some teams exceeding expectations and others left disappointed.

Softball started their conference tournament journey as the number eight seed, the last seed in the tournament, and went on a Cinderella run to the final. New for this year, the Trojans started off in the play-in round, defeating Goshen 6-2. Next, they lost to the hosts, Mount Vernon Nazarene, 7-4. 

For the second consecutive year, with their backs against the wall, the softball team found a way to fight back. They won three consecutive games over Spring Arbor, Indiana Wesleyan and Mount Vernon Nazarene to clinch the other automatic bid to the NAIA National Tournament. 

Men’s golf fell one spot short in their quest of a seventh straight Crossroads League title, losing to Marian by a heartbreaking two strokes in new Head Coach Lorne Oke’s first year. Seniors Noah Ross and Javan Johnson finished second and third with scores of +7 and +9 over the three round tournament. Senior Erik Fahlen finished tied for ninth with a +15 score. Freshman Kyle Kasitz finished 11th with a score of +16. While the team did not get the automatic bid, they were awarded an at-large bid for the NAIA National Championship that runs from May 16-19 in Mesa, Arizona. 

Women’s golf also finished a strong second in their Crossroads League meet. Freshman Shayne Lim finished tied for first, shooting a 224 over three rounds to finish off a stellar first season. Last year’s Crossroads League champion, sophomore Sabrina Langerak, finished tied for ninth, scoring a 230. Junior Elizabeth Kemper finished tied for 12th with a score of 233. Freshman Margarita Garrido finished 15th to cap off her first season at Taylor with a score of 234. The No. 11 ranked Trojans now wait and see if they are given an at-large bid to the National Championship that runs from May 23-26 in Silvis, Illinois.

Women’s track finished third out of 10 teams in their conference meet, scoring 123 points. Day one of the meet had multiple athletes meet NAIA standards. The 4x800 team of senior Brooke Studnicki, junior Olivia Jeanette, sophomore Emma Muterspaw and freshman Kaitlin Burden finished third with a time of 9:16.34 and hit NAIA A-Standard. Day two is where most of the Trojans’ points came from. 

Junior Ahna VanderWall won the steeplechase race, setting a program record with a time of 10:41.11. Another win came from the 4x100 team composed of senior Audrey Altum, junior Ashley Hall and freshmen Kiana Siefert and D’Arjha Davis as they won with a time of 47.65. Lastly, junior Patience Sakeuh set a program record in the 100 meter hurdles with a time of 14.00, finishing second.

Men’s track finished fourth out of 10 teams in their conference meet, scoring 90 points. On day one, senior Damon Knowles matched the program record in pole vault of 5.00 meters, winning the event in front of freshman teammate Josh Forbes. Senior Sammy Sommers continued his incredible senior season, winning the long jump event with a jump of 7.25 meters. On day two of the meet, junior Nate Conkel won the 800-meter race with a time of 1:53.02.

Baseball came in as the top team in their conference tournament, but quickly exited with defeats to Spring Arbor, losing 6-4, and Mount Vernon Nazarene, losing 5-3. Their season is not over though, since they won the regular season title and automatically qualify for the NAIA National Tournament. They will host the first round of the tournament at Winterholter Field on Taylor’s campus from May 15-18. Winning the opening round would mean a trip out to Lewiston, Idaho to play in the NAIA’s edition of the College World Series.