05/02/2011 – The track & field teams had a successful weekend as two school records were broken and seven national qualifying marks were established. The Saints were in competition at the Hillsdale "Gina" Relays on Friday and then hosted the Aquinas College Quad Meet on Saturday at Houseman Field.
Rachael Steil established a new school record in the 5000 meters on Friday night as she placed 6th in the Invitational portion of the 5k. Steil's time of 17:04.58 bested teammate Carly Plank's (17:17.80) time from the same meet last year. Steil's time is currently the fifth fastest time run in the NAIA this spring. Also on Friday night, Katy Cramer hit the provisional mark in the 10,000 meters with a time of 37:48. Cramer's performance was the second fastest 10k ever by an Aquinas Saint and a 64 second personal best for the senior from Cedar Springs.
The men's 4x800 meter relay was crowned relay champions as the foursome of Nick Thelen, Grant Gunneson, Kolin Stickney and Dustin Heiler won the competition with a time of 7:43.29. The performance was the third fastest all-time for the Saints and automatically qualifies the men for the NAIA National Championships. The Saints are currently ranked 3rd nationally in the event.
Highlighting the meet on Saturday was the vault of freshman Alicia Dorko. Dorko won the competition with a school record jump of 11-10. The performance automatically qualifies Alicia for the National Championships at the end of the month.
Nick Thelen followed his performance on Friday night with an even better showing on Saturday. The junior from Grand Ledge ran the second fastest 800 meter of all-time as Thelen recorded a 1:52.99. The time automatically qualifies Nick for the NAIA Championships.
Two Saints earned provisional qualifiers on Saturday as Joordan Hall ran a 12.25 in the 100 meters to hit the "B" standard, while Ryan Helminiak's jump of 6-7 earned him a spot on the Nationals squad. In all the Saints recorded 15 first place finishes on Saturday.
Aquinas will return to action on Friday as the Saints will compete at the WHAC Championships. The event will take place at Houseman Field beginning at 4 p.m.