Columbia, SC – To say this has been a record season for the Grace Christian University track and field squads is an understatement, considering they virtually rewrote the outdoor record books this year, a pattern that continued into Nationals this past week.
The NCCAA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships was hosted by Columbia International University in South Carolina on May 10-12 where nine different athletes from Grace represented the Tigers. Over the course of the three day meet, two school records were shattered, numerous personal records were set, and one Tiger came within one high jump away from earning All-American honors.
Freshman Makensie Mondy (Kentwood, MI) shattered the women’s high jump school record in only her second attempt at the event, clearing 1.57m and placing 5th overall in the nation for the NCCAA. Mondy actually cleared the same height as the 2nd and 3rd place finishers, which would have earned her All-American honors, however, a tie breaker at a lower height resulted in Mondy just missing a top three finish.
Senior Lucy Nusbaum (Holland, MI) set a new personal best time in outdoor track for the 400m dash, finishing in 1:08.66.
Sophomore Alyssa Gennety (Jackson, MI) ran to a new personal record in the 5k with a time of 21:46.23.
On his birthday on Friday, freshman Devin Bartee (Muskegon, MI) broke the school record in long jump, becoming the first Tiger to ever hit the 6m mark in the event. Finishing with a mark of 6.02m on his final attempt, Bartee narrowly missed placing in the event (top 8) for his first ever Nationals appearance.
Junior Kent Herring (Evart, MI) had a big two days in the men’s decathlon, finishing in 6th place nationally with 3,874 points. Herring excelled throughout the competition with personal records in the 100m, 110m hurdles, shot put, high jump, the 400m, and pole vault, as well as finishing in second place in the 1500m run.
Grace head track & field coach Gerry Verwey was pleased with the competitiveness many of the Tigers showed at Nationals. "It was incredible to see almost all of our athletes step up and compete at Nationals," commented Verwey. "It’s one thing to be there and to go through the motions but quite another thing to act like you belong there and to fight for positions and compete at the highest level. It was so exciting to watch not only hard work but productive mindsets prevail throughout the week with our athletes. This team really set the tone higher than it has ever been before, which makes next year very exciting," added Verwey.
The Tigers will now turn their attention to the remaining recruiting season and the upcoming cross country season this summer and fall. Stay tuned for updates throughout the summer as the track & field and cross country programs continue to grow and exceed expectations.