The 2015 GPAC Indoor Track and Field Championships were held Feb. 20-21 in Geneva, Ohio. The Northwestern men’s team finished fifth overall among conference teams and the women finished seventh overall. The Raiders claimed three GPAC titles and had 27 all-conference performances.
On the women’s side, the 4×400-meter relay team of senior Meghan Walhof, freshman Katie Landhuis, freshman Kendra Van Meetern and junior Lauren Spranger finished second overall. All four athletes also claimed an all-conference spot individually at the meet. Spranger finished fourth in the 400-meter, Walhof finished third in the 600-meter, Landuis finished third in the 800-meter and Van Meeteren took the eighth spot in the 60-meter hurdles.
The women’s 4×800-meter relay team of freshman Krista Hovland, freshman Sam Sinclair, senior Joleen Wilhelm and senior Jessica Sawatzky broke the tape in the eighth position while teammate sophomore Jahdai Dunk also took an eighth place finish in the 60-meter. In the field, junior Lydia Steenhoek vaulted her way to a seventh place finish in the pole vault and Allyson Austin was able to jump into the sixth-place spot in the triple jump.
The men’s side of the team had three GPAC champions by the end of the contest. Junior Elliot Johnson battled his way to a GPAC title in the 600-meter and teammate junior Kyle Anderson crossed the tape ahead of all other competitors in the field in the 800-meter. Lastly, the men’s 4×800-meter relay team of senior Skyler Giddings, senior Ryan Weitgenant, freshman Hans Epp and Kyle Anderson took home a GPAC title in their event.
The rest of the distance crew had an impressive outing at the conference meet. Freshman Aaron Lemon finished the 600-meter in the seventh spot while Weitgenant took the eighth spot in the 800-meter. Giddings (third) and Logan Hovland (fifth) both finished in the top five in the 1000-meter. Hovland also finished fourth in the mile while teammate Will Norris finished fourth in the 3000-meter. Also claiming and all-conference spot in the 3000-meter was freshman Tanner Goetsch who finished the race in eighth.
Senior Jordan Strofaci had an impressive outing over the span of the two-day meet. Not only did he finish third in the heptathlon on Friday, he also claimed two more all-conference performances in the 60-meter hurdles (third) and the long jump (seventh). Senior Scott Strand crossed the line in the fourth position in the 60-meter and was also apart of the 4×400-meter relay team that earned an all-conference honor. The team of Strand, Johnson, Anderson and freshman Levi TeBrink finished fourth in their event. Rounding out the men’s side was freshman Cody Bauman and his sixth place finish in the shot put.
Those who qualified for the NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships traveled to Ohio to compete against the best in the nation. The meet was held March 5-7 at the Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio.
Karen Ettleman earned All-American honors in the pentathlon on the first day of the NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships. Ettleman placed third out of 16 athletes and totaled 3,689 points, just ahead of GPAC-rival Erin DeVries (Doane). Ettleman was the top competitor in the 60-meter hurdles and placed third in both the 800-meter and shot put. Brttany Murray of Cornerstone won the event with 3,842 points, followed by Alexus Dalton of Westmont with 3,729 point.
The men’s 4×800 relay was one of the highlights of day two as they earned All-American honors for the third year in-a-row, finishing eighth with a time of 7 minutes 41.93 seconds, within a second of the top two teams. NW relay members include Hovland, Giddings, Johnson and Anderson.
Anderson finished seventh in the 800-meter, earning All-American honors for the second time at this year’s championships. Anderson posted a time of 1:55.2, less than two seconds in back of the fifth and sixth place runners. Clay Shepperson of Oklahoma Baptist won the event with a time of 1:52.07.
Giddings earned All-American honors for the second time at this year’s championship, placing seventh in the 1000-meter. Giddings crossed the tape in a time of 2:28.58.
The women’s 4×400 relay team placed eighth, earning All-American honors. The team of Walhof, Landhuis, Van Meetern and Spranger posted a school-record time of 3:52.5.
The events in Geneva wrapped up the indoor season for the NW team. The team is now practicing and gearing up for the first outdoor meet for the squad will be held at Wayne State College in Wayne, Neb. on March 27-28.