by Eva Dean Folkert
Mitchel Achien'g has elevated her place in the Hope College women's track and field annals yet again. For the second consecutive year, the senior from Nairobi, Kenya (Kisumu School) has been named the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association's Most Valuable Indoor Field Athlete.
Achien'g co-headlines a 2020 All-MIAA Women's Indoor Track & Field Team along with the Track Athlete of the Year, Trine University's Evonne Bultemeyer. MIAA coaches vote on the Most Valuable Athletes. All-MIAA honors are awarded to those who win events at the conference championships.
The dominance and versatility of Achien'g melded well into a deeply talented Flying Dutch team that captured the MIAA title in dominating fashion last weekend at the MIAA Indoor Track and Field Championships hosted at Trine University. While Achien'g topped Hope with three individual wins (and third- and fifth-place finishes too), she is joined on the All-MIAA team by five others who captured MIAA crowns, too.
Also earning All-MIAA women's track and field honors were senior Addyson Gerig of Holland (West Ottawa HS), winner of the high jump; senior Anna Frazee of Watervliet, Michigan (Home School), who won the 3000-meter run; and Frazee, junior Sydney del Valle of Holland, Michigan (Black River HS), freshman Lily Tripp of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (Seaholm HS), and freshman Ellie Jankowski of Granger, Indiana (Penn HS), winners of the distance medley relay.
Achien'g's three wins came in the triple jump, long jump and 60-meter hurdles. And in two of those events, she ran and leapt to a record-setting performance at both the league and school level.
In the triple jump, Achien'g went 11.25 meters (36 feet, 11 inches) to repeat as MIAA champion in the event and set league and Hope records. She set another MIAA record, as well as a school record, in the 60-meter hurdles, with a time of 9.02 seconds. Her first place in the long jump came at 5.35 meters (17-6 3/4). Additionally, she placed third in the 60-meter dash with a run of 8.02 seconds and fifth in the 200 meters with a run of 26.94.
"Mitchel had the best meet of her life at a perfect time," head coach Kevin Cole said. "She had personal records in all five events in which she competed. She is an incredibly hard worker and very driven to reach her goals."
Gerig won high jump for the third straight year and in commanding fashion. She set the MIAA and school record with a leap of 1.62 meters (5 feet, 3 inches) that was almost four inches better than the second-place finisher. She also placed fourth in the triple jump, going 10.45 meters (35 feet, 3 inches) and sixth in the 60-meter hurdles (9.94).
"Addy not only cleared a personal best and conference record in the high jump but then continued on and cleared two more heights after that," Cole said. "It was so much fun to see all her work in the weight room pay off with a dominant performance."
Frazee claimed the 3000-meter title with a time of 10:18.81 while also anchoring the Hope's distance medley relay team that went 12:55.03, topping the next team by more than 13 seconds.
"The win by the distance medley is a testament to the incredible strength of our distance runners and the work that Coach Northuis has done with them," Cole said. "We had a mix of two veterans and two first-year runners on the relay, which indicates we'll be strong in that area for a long time to come. Anna Frazee not only anchored the relay with a strong mile but came back with a very impressive personal best time to win the 3000m run, too."