April 28th, 2012
AZUSA, Calif. -- With a fantastic season under the belts of TMC’s distance squad, the first day of the 2012 GSAC Track & Field Championships held at Azusa Pacific proved to be no exception. First up on the track for the Mustang men were the preliminary heats of the men’s 1500m run. Competing in separate heats, TMC’s John Gilbertson and Nathan Seyler both ran tactical races and each finished second, easily advancing to Saturday’s final.
Perhaps the most exciting race of the day for TMC was the men’s 3000m Steeplechase final. Representing the Mustangs were sophomores Matthew Crichton and David Eller, and freshman John Hurd. Two weeks ago, Crichton defeated Nathan Kemp, a senior from Westmont with the fastest time entering the GSAC Championships, making the Mustang a top contender for the conference title.
However, it would be teammate Eller who stepped up big for the Mustangs. In what proved to be his best race of the season thus far, Eller ran precisely according to plan. Sitting back in the front pack, Eller allowed his competition to lead through the first five laps of the seven and a half lap race. Breaking away from the rest of the field, Eller made a tremendous 800m drive toward the finish. Crossing the line in 9:23.69, Eller became the 2012 GSAC Champion in the men’s steeplechase, qualified for the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships, and set a new school record in the event.
“What stands out most about the race to me is David’s discipline to wait patiently before making his move,” said Coach Zach Schroeder. “Before the race, I told David to sit back and let the rest of the field do the work, and that when he decided to make his move, he had to commit and not back down, and that’s exactly what he did.” Eller’s victory is the secod GSAC individual championship title for track & field in the history of The Master’s College.
Teammate Crichton also had a great race, finishing third overall with a time of 9:29.23. Crichton’s third-place finish secured him All-GSAC honors, along with Eller.
Rounding out an exciting first day of competition was the men’s 10,000m final. Josiah Downer and Camden McAlister represented the Mustangs well, finishing third and fourth, respectively. Downer earned the college more All-GSAC Honors with his performance, putting together a strong race in spite of struggling through injury in recent weeks. McAlister showed phenomenal progress as he continues to prepare to race the marathon at the NAIA Nationals in just a few weeks. McAlister set a personal record, improving his previous best by over 20 seconds.
With Friday’s success in the books, Saturday promises to be a great day of competition for the stampeding Mustangs.