Biola track team sets personal bests in Azusa meet

Biola track and field places well in Azusa Pacific’s Last Chance Indoor Qualifier.

Erik Markus, Writer

This past weekend, the Biola track and field team competed in Azusa Pacific’s Last Chance Indoor Qualifier. This was the second of two meets in Azusa, where more than 10 schools sent participants. This weekend, Biola sent in a handful of athletes to better their times and gain more racing experience.

Athletes give top performances

Although leading into the meet, the weather looked dark and gloomy, it didn’t stop these determined athletes from turning in top performances. Junior Gabe Aeschliman ran the 600-meter, finishing first in his section with a time of 1:22.47 as well as finishing fourth among all participants in the event.

Also, Alex Calkins and Tyler Nieves achieved personal bests in the men’s pole vault, where Calkins soared into second place, and Nieves earned fifth.

Women place high in meet

The women also dominated the vaults, as Taylor McCahon and Alie Zalesky, took first and third. Natasha Miller had a big day, dominating in all of her many races, ranging from mid distance, hurdles, jumps and shot put. She pulled in two first place finishes and a third. Finally, junior Clarissa Kenney ran a 3:08 in the 1,000-meter, setting a personal best.

Athletes comment on team performance

In the 5K, Brian Aukshunas and Scott Weir ran blistering times at 15:50 and 16:33.

After the meet, Kenney and Aukshunas both had comments regarding their performances and that of the team. Both are members of the cross country team, so they have been well prepared for the season and come in with high hopes. Aukshunas was particularly pleased with his work this weekend and season, because he has now qualified for the outdoor track and field nationals, in the marathon. The race will be held in May in Indiana.

“There’s so much behind the scenes that people don’t realize about long distance runners. It’s not just going out and running with no purpose,” Aukshunas said. “It involves proper workouts, proper rest, proper recovery, and proper diets.” This preparation starts with the coach, and it is clear head coach Jonathan Zimmerman has done an excellent job of this.

Coach Zimmerman is in his fourth year as the track and field head coach, and his teachings are rubbing off on his athletes. Kenney emphasized her goal to become “more of a student of the sport, to know when you need to rest, when to focus on school, how to eat right.”

Team looks forward to future meet

She is excited about the community and camaraderie that is within this team. As well, she feels like this is the biggest team she has been a part of, and is excited for the opportunities in the future.

Feb. 26, the Biola Eagles will be competing in the Rossi Relays in Claremont, Calif. They hope to ride the momentum and continue to improve towards their ultimate goals.

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