By Harrison LaLone, Sports Information Student Assistant
Alma, Mich. – Alma College track and field closed the season with the women's team finishing sixth in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) and the men's team finishing seventh in both the indoor and outdoor seasons. Individually, there were three conference championships won between the indoor and outdoor seasons.
Senior Kaitlyn Arnold (Jackson, Mich. / Jackson Northwest) won the 5000-meter run in the MIAA indoor season, defeating the defending-champion of the event. Arnold continued the success in the outdoor season with a conference championship in the 1500-meter run and a runner-up finish in the 5000-meter run.
After the conference season concluded, Arnold set her sights on the national championship meet, attempting to qualify in both the 1500-meter run and 5000-meter run. While neither came to fruition, Arnold came within seconds of qualifying for both.
Sophomore Erin Goggins (Hastings, Mich. / Hastings) claimed the third conference title for the Scots, winning the Pole Vault in the indoor season. A huge improvement on her personal-best (3.35 meters) in the event at the MIAA Field Day led to a runner-up finish in the Pole Vault in the outdoor season.
The men's team this season was led by its youth. Freshman Payton Hirschenberger (Freeland, Mich. / Saginaw Nouvel) led the men's team in top-three performances with five, sophomore Kyle Kraus (Middleville, Mich. / Thornapple-Kellogg) followed with three. The men's team had 16 top-three performances in total, 13 of which recorded by a sophomore or freshman.
Senior Kathleen Collingwood (Benzonia, Mich. / Benzie Central) left her mark on the program, setting a new school record on the women's side in the Hammer Throw. Her toss of 44.87 meters at the Jim Cole Scottie Open on April 14 surpassed a record of 44.39 meters that had stood in the program for over two decades.
Alma College track and field collected six MIAA Athlete of the Week honors over the course of the season. Kaitlyn Arnold earned the recognition on three separate occasions, Erin Goggins and juniors Hannah Garn (Charlotte, Mich. / Charlotte) and Chelse Van Spronsen (Jenison, Mich. / Jenison) each claimed the award once.
Alma graduates eight seniors – Kaitlyn Arnold, Charlie Clark (Beal City, Mich. / Beal City), Kathleen Collingwood, Brandon Erwin (Nashville, Mich. / Maple Valley), Nick Fox (Mayville, Mich. / Mayville), Roderick Howard (Redford, Mich. / Redford Union), Justin Larkins (Livonia, Mich. / Livonia-Franklin), and Ben Thelen (St. John's, Mich. / St. John's).