By Josh Neuhart
Grace College Sports Information
GULF SHORES, Ala. – Grace’s track and field team put the final touches on its best season in team history on Friday.
The Lancers concluded the 2021 NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships in Gulf Shores, Ala.
Prior to this year’s meet, Grace had three events in program history achieve NAIA Outdoor All-American status. This year, Grace doubled that total.
Isaac Brown (high jump, third place) and the men’s 4×800 relay team (Tanner Sallee, Kyle Smith, Isaac Beatty, Luke Smith) earned All-American honors on Thursday.
Dimitri Margaritidis achieved Grace’s third All-American event on Friday. The sophomore placed fourth in the 1,500-meter race with a personal-best time of 3:55.18.
“Dimitri ran a very smart and confident race,” said Grace head coach Jeff Raymond. “He made a great tactical move on the last lap and put himself in position for a strong finish.”
Heather Plastow posted a top-10 finish in the women’s 1,500 race, finishing 10th at 4:52.88. She wrapped up a remarkable season; she qualified for NAIA Nationals in cross country, earned All-American honors at the NAIA indoor meet (mile) and grabbed a top-10 finish at the NAIA outdoor meet.
Overall, the men’s squad scored 15.5 points in the meet (most in team history) to finish 18th in the nation.
The meet also officially concluded the coaching career for Raymond, who is retiring from coaching and moving into an administration role in Grace’s athletic department.
“This year has certainly been a roller coaster with a few lows and many highs. We took 13 men and 11 women to this tournament and came away with six All-Americans and two school records,” Raymond said. “Being part of this group has been an honor. The way they conducted themselves and how they’ve learned to compete has been a joy to see.”
Grace’s year was highlighted by winning the 2021 NCCAA national championship on the men’s side, the first national title in team history. The women were the national runners-up in the meet.