Women's Track & Field Grabs Three Top Seeds During MIAA Field Day

Hannah Kenny poses for a portrait MItchel Achien'g poses for a portrait by Lenny Padilla

Mitchel Achien'g sat in a chair taking off her track spikes after a long, wet day.

"Hey, I'm missing one of the spikes!" she said to no one in particular, while looking at the bottom of one of her shoes.

It didn't seem to affect the Hope College junior. Achien'g, pictured left, qualified for the finals in three events and finished second in the long jump during the first day of the MIAA Field Day Outdoor Track & Field Championships hosted by the Flying Dutch at Brewer Track.

"I'm happy with how I've done so far," said Achien'g from Nairobi, Kenya (Kisumu School). "It's been pretty crappy weather. My jump was good, so that was encouraging. Tomorrow the weather is going to be good. We expect to do better and run great times."

After the completion of just four events, the Flying Dutch have 26 points, which is good for third place. Albion College leads with 32 points, while Calvin has 30 for second place.

"Our women's team is looking great all around," head coach Kevin Cole said while trying to stay dry on a wet, overcast day. "It's actually a pretty nice day for it. The wind affects things more than the rain does. There was very little wind today. I think we'll have some faster times tomorrow."

Hope recorded the fastest times in three prelimiaries.

Hailey Pickelheimer, pictured above right, led a top-four sweep in the 400-hurdle prelim. The junior from Powell, Ohio (Olentangy Liberty) recorded a time of 1:09.33.

Pickelheimer was followed by teammates Allison VanderStoep of Holland (West Ottawa) in second at 1:10.87, freshman Hayley Scollard of Traverse City (T.C. Central) in third at 1:10.19), and freshman Sophie Hall of Holt (Haslett) in fourth at 1:11.09.

Junior Hannah Kenny of Grand Haven (Grand Haven), pictured above middle, topped the field in the 800-meter prelim with a run of 2:21.28.

Three teammates will join Kenny in the final: junior Sally Hansma of Grand Rapids (Jenison) in fifth at 2:27.60, junior Chelsea Miskelley of Holland (Black River) in sixth at 2:27.90, and junior Emily Jackson of Grayling (Grayling) in eighth at 2:27.63.

Achien'g earned the top seed in the 100-meter hurdles after a top prelim time of 15.90 seconds. She came in fifth in the 100-meter prelims with a time of 12.94 and eighth in the 200 at 27.15.

Achien'g finished second in the long jump with a leap of 5.32 meters (17 feet, 5 inches). But she wasn't thrilled about it.

"I was kind of mad because I only got two jumps because I was waiting (to run) the 100," Achien'g said. "I was sad that I couldn't get in my final jump. My first jump is what got me the second position, so I'm glad for that."

The Flying Dutch advanced two runners to the 400-meter final: VanderStoep in second at 1:01.11 and junior Nicole Kruithof of Byron Center (South Christian) at 1:01.57.

In the 10,000 meters, the top Hope finishers were senior Kayla Gercak of Vicksburg (Portage Northern) in sixth place with a time of 39 minutes, 50 seconds. Senior Avery Lowe of  North Muskegon (North Muskegon) came in seventh in 39:54.

Freshman Jenna Breuker of Grand Rapids (Forest Hills Eastern) had a strong day in the throws, despite the wet conditions.

In the hammer throw, Breuker placed third with a toss of 43.19 meters (141-08). She finished in fourth place in the shot put with a throw of 11.82 meters (38-9).

The two-day meet continues Friday with field events beginning at 10 a.m. and the running events at 1:30 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for non-MIAA students. MIAA students are free.

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