Leafs earn All-American honors in five events at NAIA outdoor track & field championships

MARION, IND. – The Goshen College outdoor track & field teams capped off their seasons by combining to earn All-Americans in five events at the NAIA Championships held at Indiana Wesleyan University. The Maple Leafs had All-Americans in the men’s and women’s 4×800-meter relay, the men’s steeplechase, the women’s 1,500 meters and the women’s 5,000 meters.

Day one achievements

GC kicked off the championships with notable performances in the preliminaries, setting the stage for their subsequent successes.

The men’s relay team celebrates after finishing the semifinal race.

Women’s 1,500 Meters: Annika Alderfer Fisher qualified for the finals with a strong showing in her heat, placing fourth.

4×800-Meter Relay: Both the men’s and women’s 4×800-meter relay teams advanced to the finals. The men’s team, comprised of Drew Hogan, Mathew Keitany, Anthony Roberts and Jacob Friesen, secured automatic qualification by placing second in their heat with a time of 7:37.17. The women’s team, consisting of Mia Wellington, Naomi Ross Richer, Summer Cooper and Alderfer Fisher, set a new school record of 9:11.28, earning their spot in the finals based on their time.

Men’s 1,500 Meters: Drew Hogan and Jacob Friesen competed in the men’s 1,500-meter semifinals but did not advance.

Day two achievements

Day two of the championships featured historic performances by Goshen’s men’s and women’s 4×800-meter relay teams, both of which set new school records and earned All-American status.

The women’s relay team comes together at the conclusion of the final.

Women’s 4×800-Meter Relay: The team shattered the school record by seven seconds with a time of 9:04.62, finishing sixth overall. This was the first time a women’s outdoor relay team from Goshen earned All-American honors.

Men’s 4×800-Meter Relay: The men’s team also broke the school record with a time of 7:30.02, securing a sixth-place finish and All-American recognition.

Women’s 5,000 Meters: Mercy Chebet advanced to the finals by placing third in her semifinal heat with a time of 17:43.63, showcasing a strong finish and earning her place in the final race.

Men’s 5,000 Meters: Nelson Kemboi concluded his storied career with a strong performance, although he did not advance to the finals. He led during the middle portion of his heat and finished seventh, narrowly missing the qualification.

Mathew Keitany barely got his feet wet during his preliminary steeplechase race.

Day three achievements

The final day of the championships saw Goshen’s athletes securing All-American titles in three events. Keitany, Alderfer Fisher and Chebet delivered outstanding performances that set new school records and demonstrated their impressive effort on the national stage.

Men’s Steeplechase: Keitany finished sixth in the men’s steeplechase with a school record time of 9:07.97. This remarkable achievement was the third time this season he broke the 1990 school record of 9:10.95.

Women’s 1,500 Meters: Alderfer Fisher capped off her exceptional career at Goshen with an eighth-place finish in the women’s 1,500 meters. Her time of 4:32.71 not only earned her All-American honors but also set a new school record.

Women’s 5,000 Meters: Chebet delivered Goshen’s highest-placing finish at nationals, claiming fifth place in the women’s 5,000 meters. Her dramatic final lap saw her surge from ninth to fifth, finishing with a time of 17:36.91.

At the end of the championships, the women finished tied for 29th in the NAIA with eight team points and the men were tied for 39th with six points.

Conclusion of a memorable season

With the conclusion of the 2023-24 Goshen College athletics season, the Maple Leafs have demonstrated their commitment to excellence. As returning student-athletes prepare to start a new school year in August, the successes at this year’s NAIA National Championships stand as a testament to their hard work and dedication.