Northwestern College hosted the annual Red Raider Open this past weekend, April 10 and 11, in De Valois Stadium. The Raiders made the most of their home field advantage, and the meet ran smoothly.
Although no overall winner is declared, the NW runners picked up 41 top-five finishes and won eight events. Among the NW winners were freshman Katie Landhuis in the 800m (2:22.18), junior Kyle Anderson in the 800m (1:58) and senior Levi Ettleman in the shot put (16.05m).
The Raiders dominated the 5000m, where they managed to claim the top three spots. Sophomore Will Norris came in first at (15:23), with freshman Tanner Goetsch and junior Caleb VanderBaan close behind.
Two other Red Raiders who had an outstanding meet were seniors Jordan Strofaci and Ettleman, who both managed to break their own previously held stadium records in their respective events, the decathlon and heptathlon.
Throughout the course of the weekend there were five other stadium records posted by runners from other universities.
However, beyond stadium records, three other distinctive NW students made a splash at the meet. Seniors Brett Gudeman and Zack Schornack, along with junior Tukker Bogaard decided to compete as “unattached runners” in the Red Raider Open.
The three amateur runners, who also happen to live together in the North Suites, participated in Saturday’s steeplechase, which is regarded as one of the most grueling events by track runners.
“We made the decision that we wanted to enter unattached in the Red Raider Open, and we figured the steeplechase would give us the most bang for our buck” Schornack said. “Between the distance, the hurdles and the water barrier, we figured this was the event for us.”
The three competitors began running on a daily basis a couple of weeks before the actual event, but it was still no walk in the park for them.
“It was a bit harder than we had anticipated,” Schornack said. “The wind on the back stretch was miserable, it really broke up your stride.”
Aside from the three friends, other people at the track meet enjoyed seeing them race as well.
“When the boys competed it brought a whole new dynamic to the meet and got people excited,” Emily Culver, a junior and member of the track team said. “The track team was pumped that other people wanted to be involved, and people who don’t usually come to track meets got to come and share in our joy.”