by Lenny Padilla
It didn't look like Justin Freeman's orange Hope College speed suit had a drop of rain on it.
That's because the Hope College sprinter might be fast enough to dodge the droplets.
The senior from Holland (West Ottawa HS) set a school record in the 200-meter dash on Thursday during the preliminaries of the outdoor track and field championships at the MIAA Field Day hosted by Hope at Brewer Track. Freeman, pictured, ran a time of 21.74 seconds on an extremely wet track.
"I don't know who held the record, but it was 21.75, so I just beat it by a hundredth (of a second)," Freeman said while smiling from ear to ear. "This means a lot to me because it's the fifth and final (school) record. So now I hold all five."
"I did not expect that," Freeman added. "Last week, I ran 22.15, and I ran it pretty hard. So I didn't know what to expect today. It was a good day today. I kind of like this weather. It's not too hot. No better way to do it than here at home."
"I thought he would do it," head coach Kevin Cole of freeman. "He's been looking really good. He's wanted that record (in the 200) and now he's finally healthy. I thought he could do it pretty easily."
Though the day brought lengthy periods of rain, Freeman did not mind. In fact, he prefers it. "I love wet tracks," he explained, "because they're a little bit softer so our spikes dig in a little better and we get better traction."
Freeman now holds the outdoor school records in the 100 (10.69), 200 (21.74) and as a member of the 4x100 relay (41.3). He has the indoor records in the 60 (6.91) and 200 (22.68). For the record, Hope's 200 record holder was Craig Flowerday, who ran a 21.75 in 1989.
The Flying Dutchmen continue competition in the MIAA Championships on Friday beginning at 10 a.m. with field events and 1:30 p.m. for running events. Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for non-MIAA students. MIAA students are free.
After the completion of four events, Hope is in fifth place with eight points. Calvin College leads with 58 points.
In the shot put, sophomore Noah Russo of Grand Rapids (East Grand Rapids HS) had a fifth-place finish with a throw of 13.87 meters (45 feet, 6 inches. Senior Chase Gaca of Kingsley (Kingsley) finished eighth in the hammer throw with a toss of 40.40 meters (132-06).
Freeman is looking forward to his final battle with Adrian College sprinter Randolph Fry on Friday in the 100 and 200 meters.
"Randy is the guy we've been battling since we were both freshmen," Freeman said. "But we've both been injured, so it will be good to run against each other. It should be a great final."