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Track and Field captures six first place finishes at home invitational

Photo by Jean Donaldson

Junior Kai Foday PRed while taking first in the javelin throw at the HU home invitational Apr. 18. Pictured above is Foday on his sixth place throw at Indiana Wesleyan Apr. 3. (Photo by Jean Donaldson)

In their only home event of the 2015 season, the Huntington University track and field squads combined to capture six first-place finishes Apr. 18. The Forester men finished in fourth, while the women ended the meet in third.

Junior Jake Nash earned two wins for HU, topping his competition in both long jump and high jump. He posted a PR in high jump with a 6’9.25 finish, establishing the new school record.

Sophomore Brooks Gerke garnered a first place finish in pole vault while junior Kai Foday captured first in the javelin while notching a PR throw.

Gerke called the home meet “a great experience” and “a humbling one all at the same time.”

“The support from local students really does make the atmosphere around the meet different from any other one we have had all year,” Gerke said. “It was humbling just to see everyone there cheering me on, being so encouraging, which made it a special moment.”

Gerke, who holds the indoor pole vault record at HU, said he hopes to break the outdoor pole vault record by the end of the season as well as to qualify for the NAIA National Tournament.

For the women, junior Hannah Moore finished first in the 3,000-meter competition. Junior Krista Wood was the top victor in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, while teammate freshman Allison Amstutz won the shot put event.

Courtney Baker, a senior who joined the track team this season, clocked a second place time in the 400-meter dash. Baker’s 59.08 finish was her first under the one-minute mark this season.

“It hurt during the race. It hurt during practice. But once the race is over, it feels amazing,” Baker said of accomplishing her new personal best time.

Baker expressed that “it’s crazy how good it feels” to hit a mark she set for herself, but that she hopes to post a 400-meter time in the high 57s to qualify for the NAIA Nationals Tournament.

Head coach Tom King cited how runners react to tiredness as a determinant of performance.

Baker

Senior Courtney Baker was commended by Huntington head coach Tom King. ““She doesn’t back off,” King said. (Photo by Jean Donaldson)

“You go harder or back off,” King said of Baker. “She doesn’t back off.”

Sophomore Jean Donaldson also registered a new PR in the javelin competition over the weekend.

“We had a good performance,” King said of the Foresters’ home meet. “It’s nice to be home and have nice weather. We were really glad we got to do that.”

At the Little State Championship at Indiana Wesleyan University Apr. 3-4, the HU men and women finished in eighth and ninth, respectively. The meet consisted of Indiana competition from NAIA, NCAA Division II and junior colleges.

Sophomore Christiana Hicks, who raked in the lone Forester first-place win in triple jump, led the women. Hick’s performance was good enough to leave a second-place mark in the HU record books.

Donaldson also worked her way into the HU record books by earning a PR in hammer.

Nash, who accumulated over one-third of the Forester men’s field points, finished second in high jump and fourth in triple jump. Gerke’s performance at javelin earned him a third-place finish, while he came in seventh at pole vault.

Foday captured sixth in javelin, and senior Antonio Castillo’s eighth-place performance in the 800-meters competition also placed him at ninth place in the HU record book.

The Foresters competed in the Crossroads League Championships Apr. 24-25.

As each team nears the end of its season, King said his teams must “keep being competitive,” knowing when “to be aggressive and be smart.”

“If we keep improving, we will do just fine,” King said.

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