February 3, 2013
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – On Super Bowl Sunday, the Lady Mustangs kicked off the 2013 track season at the Surf City Half Marathon in Huntington Beach, California. Among the 14,531 half marathon participants, The Master's College was well represented, to say the least.
TMC had four women racing at the front of the enormous field. “We always look forward to running the Surf City Half Marathon,” said head coach Zach Schroeder. “It’s a fun venue to open up the track season and reintroduce ourselves to racing after our winter base training. For some of our athletes the race serves as an opportunity to hit a national qualifying mark in the marathon, for others it’s just a test effort to see where our base fitness is at.” Among the thousands racing along the Pacific Coast Highway Sunday, The Master’s distance squad proved to be among the best.
The Lady Mustangs put on an impressive performance, placing three women in the top 16 overall. Grabbing the 1st, 3rd and 5th spots in their age group were TMC runners Karis Frankian (Saugus, CA), Katrina Graham (Riverside, CA), and Hannah Kellerman (Sartell, MN). “It’s pretty exciting to see the college represented in such a dominant way,” said assistant coach Amie Schroeder. “It’s fun to hear people talking about TMC because they recognize the level our kids are competing at.”
Running to the front for the Lady Mustangs was NAIA Cross Country All-American and freshman standout Karis Frankian. Frankian posted a TMC record-breaking mark of 1 hour, 22 minutes, 7 seconds, finishing seventh overall after running a 6:16 pace over the half marathon distance.
To compete in the marathon at the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championship a female athlete must post a half marathon time of 1 hour and 31 minutes on a certified course. Although none of them plan to compete in the marathon at the national meet, Frankian (1:22.07), Graham (1:25.30), and Kellerman (1:26.06) were all minutes under the national qualifying standard.
“I’m excited!” said Schroeder. “It’s February 3rd and we already have more women qualified for nationals than we’ve ever had in the history of the program. We don’t plan on racing the marathon with any of these girls at nationals, but it’s always exciting to hit a qualifying standard in any event. The way we ran today shows phenomenal fitness. Our kids have been training tremendously hard. Sunday was just a display of nine weeks of consistent hard work and dedication to the sport.”
Next up for the Lady Mustangs is the Ben Brown invitational on March 9, hosted by Cal State Fullerton. The majority of the Lady Mustangs' track squad will toe the line for the first time this spring in the womens' 5000-meter event.