Grace Busy At Little State
The Grace track and field team continued to set high marks at the Indiana Little State Championships. Several new NAIA qualifiers, a pair of new school records and three event winners highlighted the two-day meet.
The Indiana Little State Championship is one of the oldest meets in the country, existing in various forms since the early 1900s. This year’s meet at Indiana Wesleyan was the 114th edition of the event.
Dimitri Margaritidis came from behind to capture the title in the 1,500-meter run. His time of 3:56.14 hit the “B” qualifying standard for NAIA Nationals. He returned a couple of hours later to place eighth in the 5,000 meters with a very solid time of 15:08.84.
Isaac Brown continued his stellar season in the high jump, winning the event with a leap of 2.08 meters (6-feet-9.75). His mark was an “A” qualifier for NAIA and just short of his personal best set two weeks ago (2.11 meters).
The other event winner came from the women’s 4×100 relay. The group of Lyne Camara, Nordia Campbell, Gracious O’Connor and Sarah O’Day posted a time of 47.92 seconds, breaking a one-week old school record and eclipsing the “A” qualifying standard for the NAIA.
Another qualifying performance came from the men’s 4×800 relay. The squad of Luke Smith, Tanner Sallee, Maurice Macklin and Kyle Smith ran 7:43.74 to finish second and surpass the NAIA “A” standard.
The women’s 4×800 relay also had a strong outing, establishing a new school record and placing third in 9:32.69. The foursome consisted of Kaitlyn Mack, Makenzie Adams, Heather Plastow and Liz Moore.
Several other quality performances were produced during the weekend. For the women, Nordia Campbell placed second in the 200 meters (24.76), Heather Plastow was runner-up in the 1,500 in 4:45.30, and Mallory Hiatt ended eighth in the 5,000 (18:23.93).
Michaela Buriff (1:08.12) and Kaitlyn Mack (1:10.55) were fourth and fifth in the 400 hurdles, Mackenzie Delong (99-8) and Bethany Hoffman (98-7) ended fourth and sixth in the javelin, while the 4×400 relay was fourth (4:04.09) with Campbell, Mack, Camara and Buriff.
For the men, the Lancers took four of the top seven places in the 800, led by Kyle Smith in second (1:53.24). He was followed by Tanner Sallee in third (1:55.19), Maurice Macklin in fifth (1:55.71), and Isaac Beatty in seventh (1:56.56).
Supporting Margaritidis’s win the 1,500 was Logan Rufenacht in third (4:00.47) and Luke Smith in seventh (4:04.58).
Bryan Hernandez-Rios ended seventh in the 5,000 (15:04.53), while Abbott Joy (171-6) and Ethan Brown (142-8) were third and fifth respectively in the javelin. The 4×400 relay of Isaac Findley, Beatty, Tyler Morrison and Kyle Smith crossed the line in third place with a season-best time of 3:20.36.
“Many people are contributing to our success, and we continue to see personal bests in a wide range of events,” said Grace head coach Jeff Raymond. “I need to point out athletes like Anna Hulstedt and Tara Friesen who each posted big PRs in the 800, Bryce Willard who set a new PR in the discus and Nate Woolery with an improved PR in the 5000. An improvement by any individual is an improvement for our entire team.”
Grace will compete in the Huntington Invitational next Saturday.