Huntington, Ind.—On May 19th, Huntington University held its commencement ceremonies, marking the end of another school year for most of its students, but for 14 Forester track and field athletes, one final test remains. These individuals are heading to Fresno, California to compete in the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships to be held May 24-26. Six individuals and three relay teams met qualifying standards set by the NAIA in their respective events during the outdoor season.
Emily Holliday, a senior math education major from Van Wert, Ohio (Van Wert High School), is making her second appearance at the national level. Holliday qualified in the 3000-meter steeplechase and enters the competition as the 15th seed with her time of 11:31.20. Her qualifying mark set at the North Central College Invitational on May 11 also improved her school record by more than seven seconds. Holliday will run in her semi-final heat on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Finals are set for Saturday at 2 p.m.
Joel Sanders, a junior elementary education major from Fort Wayne, Ind. (Snider High School), qualified for the third consecutive year in the men’s 800-meter run. Sanders enters this year’s competition as the 21st seed with a time of 1:52.29, which improved his school record by half a second. He is looking to improve on his previous best finish of 17th place in his freshmen year. He will again toe the line for the 800-meter trials on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. Semifinals will be held Friday at 3:35 p.m. with the finals set for 4:40 p.m. on Saturday.
Lucas Beach, a sophomore Bible and religion and physical education double major from Lucerne, Ind. (Pioneer High School), met qualifying standards in the shot put with a season-best toss of 54-04.75 at the Mid-Central Conference Championships on April 27. In his young career, Beach has already earned two NAIA All-America honors in the shot put at the Indoor National Championships, and is now hoping to make it to the podium in the outdoor event. Beach, who is seeded 11th in the event, is slated to throw on Friday at 1 p.m.
Katie Crandall, a sophomore applied exercise science major from Anderson, Ind. (Lapel High School), will be making her debut at the national level in the 400-meter hurdles. She qualified with her time of 1:06.00 at the Wilmington College meet on April 21. Crandall enters the trials on Thursday at 5:15 p.m. as the 48th seed. The semi-finals are on Friday at 5:15 p.m., and the finals are set for 4:10 p.m. on Saturday.
Dan Lindbloom, a sophomore applied exercise science major from Evergreen Park, Ill. (Chicago Christian High School), will compete in the 3000-meter steeplechase. He met qualifying standards and broke the school record on April 13 at the Little State meet with his time of 9:25.23. As the 17th seed, Lindbloom is looking to put to good use the valuable experience he gained competing in the 3000-meter run at the Indoor Nationals back in March where he finished 19th. He will run in the steeplechase semifinals on Thursday evening at 8 p.m. with the finals scheduled for 2:20 p.m. on Saturday.
Joseph Njeri, a sociology major from Nairobi, Kenya, qualified in the 10,000-meter run with his time of 31:52.85 set at the Little State meet in Indianapolis on April 13. Njeri made his first appearance at the national level in March at the NAIA Indoor National Championships where he competed in the 5,000-meter run. Njeri will step to the line for the final as the 28th seed on Thursday at 9:20 p.m.
The Foresters also had three relay teams qualify at the national level. The women’s 4x800 and 4x400 and the men’s 4x800 will each compete.
The women’s 4x800 relay team consists of senior Brittany Fillman (Markle, Ind., Norwell High School, English education major), senior Jessah Brumbaugh (Huntington, Ind., Bellmont High School, sociology major), sophomore Lauren Davenport (Andrews, Ind., Huntington North High School, applied exercise science major) and sophomore Jill Roughia (Bryant, Ind., Jay County HS, history education major). They are seeded 16th with their time of 9:33.80 set at the MCC Championships on April 27. They will run in the trials on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. with the finals scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday.
The women’s 4x400 relay team includes Fillman, Davenport, Crandall and freshman Bethany McGraw (Perrysburg, Ohio, Toledo Christian High School, applied exercise science major). They also met qualifying standards at the MCC Championships with a time of 3:59.57. They will toe the line for the trials on Friday at 8:15 p.m. as the 21st seed. The finals will be run on Saturday at 5:55 p.m.
The men’s 4x800 relay posted a time of 7:49.66, also at the MCC Championships, which gives them the 20th seed. The team includes Sanders, senior Cody Hannie (Fort Wayne, Ind., Snider High School, English major), sophomore Nick Johnson (Huntington, Ind., Huntington North High School, applied exercise science major) and freshman Luke Diehl (Bluffton, Ind., Norwell High School, youth ministries major). Their trials will immediately follow the women’s 4x800 trials on Thursday at 7 p.m. The finals will be on Friday at 6:20 p.m.