On Saturday, the Red Raider indoor track team had great success during the Buena Vista Invite in Storm Lake, Iowa.
It was a great day for individual talent, but it was also a great day for team talent, as the men took home first place at the invite with 153 points. The women finished in third place with 103.5 points.
This was the second straight week that the men’s team finished first in a meet after they finished first in the Dennis Young Classic last weekend. With only a meet at South Dakota State University left before the GPAC Championship, it will be a race to see who finishes first in the GPAC.
“Coach Scott says we are to place fourth for the men and sixth for the women in the GPAC,” sophomore hurdler Elijah Schaefer said. “Of course we are shooting for first though.”
The biggest reason for the team’s success has much to do with the individual talent on the team. At the Buena Vista Invite, Northwestern had 34 top-five finishes in their respective events. Among the 34 top-five finishes, came six Red Raider athletes winning their respective events.
The biggest news for the Red Raiders, however, was the fact that six track team members met the NAIA auto mark to qualify for the NAIA Indoor Track National Championships in Johnson City, Tennessee. The six athletes to qualify were freshman Rebekah Muilenburg and sophomore Katie Landhuis in the women’s 600 meter, senior Elliott Johnson and sophomore Aaron Lemon in the men’s 600 meter, freshman Peter Hollinger in the men’s 800 meter and senior Ryan Weitgenant in the men’s 1000 meter after they all posted times that met the auto mark for the National Championships at the beginning of March.
For Lemon, it has been a journey for which he has worked hard. Last year, he was not able to qualify for nationals but worked hard this season to get to that point.
“Aaron Lemon pulled off a great time and a personal record to qualify for nationals this year,” Schaefer said. “It was good to see.”
The track team is hard at work trying to secure not only a GPAC Championship, but also a chance in the National Championships. As they round the final turn of the season, with the finish line in sight, we can only hope for a Red Raider indoor track title.