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Over the past four years, Georgetown College has watched the blossoming of one of its brightest stars on the cross country and track and field teams. Tayler Godar earned six Mid-South Conference all-conference honors – four straight in cross country and two in track and field. She went to six straight NAIA championships – three in cross country and three in track and field.
Then her biggest moment came this past spring when the Ohio native became the first modern era Georgetown College track athlete to achieve All-American status. Track and field is one of the rare sports where the athlete must finish in the top eight at the national meet in order to receive All-American status.
"It's really exciting for her and for our program as a whole," said GC coach Lucas Garnett. "I'm very proud of what Tayler was able to accomplish in her final year at Georgetown. Then I analyze just her final races as a Tiger and I'm blown away."
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."
The night was dreary, but the results promising as Georgetown College men's and women's track team traveled to Ohio for the Night Moves Meet.
The men finished sixth overall, third among NAIA schools, with 10 teams competing. The women finished fifth, third among NAIA schools, against the same 10 programs.
"We had three weather delays, which started and stopped the field events," said coach Lucas Garnett. "The track events started an hour late because of all the rain and the meet ended around 1 am. It was a long day, but very successful. Everyone keeps improving."
The Tigers had several personal records and season bests Friday in Ohio.
Karina Egger, Alec Higdon-Burgess, Kaya Kelly, Kristen Just, Ben Peterson, Dustin Wheeler and Kater Riddle all set new personal records.
Georgetown College men's and women's track and field went up against four NCAA opponents this past weekend at the Mount St. Joseph Invitational. The Tiger men finished third out of the five teams, while the women were third out of six.
"It was a great weekend and a great fourth meet for us," said GC coach Lucas Garnett. "We've been at such large meets the first few weekends that I think some of our athletes were losing focus on what they are truly accomplishing this season. This weekend helped to fix some of that."
The women scored 111 points, 45 points ahead of the next closest opponent. Tayler Godar tallied individual wins in the 1500-meter and 800-meter runs. Stacking points in the longer race, Sydney Berry, Courtney Lee and Kater Riddle also finish in the top seven runners. Also scoring in the 800 was Karina Egger and Kristen Just. Riddle set a new personal record – one of 16 by 10 different Tigers Saturday – in the 800.
Elements are an interesting factor in athletics. Spring sports deal with it most often in this part of the country as storm systems can change the weather in a blink of an eye. This was the case Saturday as wind gusts shifted and increased throughout the day making it interesting for the 35-plus teams in the Centre Invitational in Danville, Ky.
Georgetown College's track and field teams saw a dip in scores – which will happen when more athletes are in the field, increasing the heats for championship contention and narrowing the field quicker.
However, the women's team still had a solid showing with a 10th place finish in 17 teams, and the men did well, but struggled to score points in finishing 18th.