Georgetown News
Tayler Godar makes her move, passes two competitors late in the 800-meter run for the win.
Tayler Godar makes her move, passes two competitors late in the 800-meter run for the win.
Track & Field - Fri, May 6, 2016

Georgetown College men's and women's track and field teams finished the 2016 season at the Mid-South Conference Championship meet in Williamsburg, Ky. Day one of the two-day competition set the stage for a phenomenal conclusion. The Tigers broke multiple school records and were just shy of two others, while finishing sixth on the men's side and fifth on the women's.

"What unfolded at the conference meet was impressive to say the least," said GC coach Lucas Garnett. "We've been steadily improving all season, but to have this type of achievement on this stage in front of all our conference rivals sent a message for next year.

"Day one started us off right, but I had no idea what was in store with day two. It was easily highlighted with Tayler (Godar) qualifying for not one, but two national meet races with school-record setting times and top two finishes. It just rolled all weekend and was truly a fantastic ending to a fantastic season."

Kristen Just started it all in the 10,000-meter run, finishing seventh. Haley Oliver at the same time took second in pole vault to stack the first set of points for Georgetown's women. Oliver moved up from fourth a year ago and actually cleared the same height as the meet winner, just took more tries.

"It's a hard way to finish second. Haley has competed so well all season and to know she was right there at the same height is awesome," Garnett said. "She finished fourth in 2015 and now she's second essentially tied. I'm very proud."

Maggie Mollak continued her solid freshman campaign with a third place finish in the discus. Continuing to take on points, Madi Webster's jump of 4.86 meters was good enough for seventh.

Putting eight more points up for the women was the 4x800-meter relay team of Karina Egger, Sydney Berry, Just and Godar.

"They were two seconds shy of a school record," Garnett said. "I could not be more proud of these four ladies who have dealt with setbacks this season, but returned strong."

The men were also stacking points on day one as the 4x800 men's relay team of Dustin Wheeler, Jacob Hanser, Nick Slucher and Austin Snider took fifth running their best splits of the season.

Slucher had a busy day also starting his decathlon competition with 100-meter dash, 400-meter dash, shot put, high jump and long jump. The senior was sitting fourth after day one.

Two freshmen combined for seven points as Joshua Copley was seventh in the discus and Graham Smith, just missing the podium, took fourth in the javelin.

"Both Joshua and Graham have had great freshmen seasons," Garnett said. "If what they accomplished and how hard they worked is any indication the next three years ought to be exciting."

Mollak started the overcast Saturday by breaking the first of four school records with a personal best in the hammer for eighth place – another point.

Kayla Dudick was the next to toe the line for an exciting 5,000-meter racewalk. Despite having very little training in this event, she finished fourth in 2015. This year she was second and just shy of breaking a school record.

Jacob Hanser took to the track in the 3,000-meter steeple chase and crushed his own personal best by eight seconds. His fifth place finish was in 10 minutes 16 seconds and six-tenths. Interestingly enough, the school record is 10:16.55.

"We've had four guys now run the race in 10:16 just different hundredths of a second off from each other," Garnett said. "Even more perplexing than that is that three of those guys are from Pendleton County and ran on the same team in high school."

Hanser's exciting day in his final meet was not complete as he set another personal record in the 5,000-meter run later in the day.

The speedsters were up in the form of the 4x100-meter relay. The men – Amir Ziyad, Christian Marshall, Marcus Price and Alec Higdon-Burgess – finished fourth, while the women – Kaya Kelly, Sydney Jones, Haley Carr and Webster – finished fifth.

After helping in the 4x800-meter relay Friday, Godar was set to have one of her best days at Georgetown. The harrier has been setting records since stepping on the campus in the fall of 2012. Between cross country and track, she has qualified for six straight national championships.

Godar's first individual race was in the 1,500-meter run, where she broke her own mark set in 2014 by more than four seconds.

"Tayler ran the best 1,500-meter race of her life," Garnett said. "She finished second with a new personal and school record as well as hitting the NAIA Nationals qualifying mark."

Egger was just outside the points with a ninth place finish.

After several other events ran, it was time for the 800-meter run. Just 90 minutes removed from her 1,500-meter best, Godar displayed why she's been such a special runner at Georgetown.

The senior was sitting in third with 200-meters to go – half a lap in the two-lap race. Godar found an extra kick, passed Shawnee State University's Sarah Biehl and University of the Cumberlands' Madison Peace, to win the race for the second straight year.

Not only did she win it in a school and personal record, but she shattered the MSC Championship record by more than two seconds.

"It was one of those truly special moments in Georgetown College track history," Garnett said. "Setting all those records, winning the race and hitting the NAIA Nationals qualifying A standard. She was impressive in her final conference meet."

In the men's 1,500-meter run, Wheeler set a new personal record by four seconds, finishing just outside the points in ninth place.

Higdon-Burgess' personal best in 100-meter dash in the qualifying heats and scored a point with an eighth-place finish on Saturday.

On the women's side, Jones and Kelly finished seventh and eighth for three more points. The pair packed more points with Jones taking sixth and Kelly eighth in the 200-meter dash. Jones also finished third in the 400-meter dash – a tenth of a second off the school record.

In the men's 400, Austin Keene, 51.85, and Higdon-Burgess, 51.88, finished fifth and sixth.

"Alec and Sydney really led our sprinters," Garnett said. "I look forward to what this freshman and sophomore will do in the coming years."

In the hurdles, Haley Carr took seventh and Derek Nunnelly eighth for more points for both teams.

Godar and Just, despite having run a bunch of races already for the Tigers, competed one final time on the conference stage in the 5,000-meter run. Godar finished third and Just took eighth for eight more points on the women's side.

"We were very small in numbers on the women's team this year, making it even more impressive all we accomplished at this meet and scoring more points than we did in 2015," Garnett said. "Each student-athlete dug deep in the tank, competed hard in every event and made this weekend a raving success."

Egger, Kater Riddle, Courtney Lee and Dudick stepped up in the 4x400-meter relay. They finished fifth to stack a final point for the Tigers.

Keene, Grant Carr, Marshall and Snider ran the 4x400 for the men, running strong for a second place finish.

"They all had strong splits and ran well, but Grant might have run the best I've ever seen him at Georgetown," Garnett said. "He stepped up in a big way and was a large part of why the team was able to pull through and take second."

Capping off the amazing competition was the completion of the men's decathlon. Slucher, sitting in fourth after Friday, competed in the 110-meter hurdles, high jump, pole vault, javelin and 1,500-meter run.

He slipped to fifth after the high jump, but clawed his way back up with the javelin and 1,500-meter run with one of the greatest comebacks Garnett has seen in that event.

"With a lap to go, Nick was 75-meters back," Garnett said. "He kicked it up, steadily made up the distance and then pulled ahead to win the race and solidify his fourth place finish in the decathlon. I am very proud of how he completed his career as a Tiger."

This was the final team meet of the season with a potential for several individuals going for national standards in some upcoming area meets, looking to join Godar at the NAIA National Championship meet in Gulf Shores, Ala. May 26-28.




 

 
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