01/27/2013 – Alvaro Romero's school record leap in the triple jump highlighted a great day of competition for the Saints at the NAIA/DIII Challenge. The Saints also posted 17 personal bests, four automatic national qualifiers, two provisional national qualifiers and four "Top Five" performances on the campus of Olivet Nazarene.
Romero's school record jump of 48-2.75 automatically qualified him for the NAIA Championships and ranks him second nationally in the event. Alvaro also improved his long jump to 24-4.25, which is the longest jump currently in the nation and the second longest jump in Aquinas history. The men's middle distance crew also had a strong showing as the 4x800 meter relay hit a provisional qualifier. The quartet of Grant Gunneson, Tom Willet, Jesus Alvardo and Caleb Teachout posted a time of 7:58.94 to rank them eighth nationally. Gunneson also hit a "B" qualifier in the mile with a time of 4:22.89. Freshman hurdler, Alex Cookenmaster, posted a personal best of 8.66 in the 60 meter hurdles to elevate him to #5 on the all-time list.
The women's team received major contributions from Emily Smith who hit automatic distances in both the shot and weight throw. Emily moved into the #2 spot on the "Top Five" list with a throw of 44-9.5 in the shot put. The new personal record lands her at #6 in the national rankings. Smith also currently sits in fourth nationally in the weight from a throw earlier in the season. Erika Heston turned her "B" into an "A" as she recorded a 9.09 to win the 60 meter hurdles at the first annual meet. The Saints vault crew continues to excel as well as Marika Rietsema soared to new heights (10-0) to record the fourth best vault in school history.
The Saints will return to action on Friday night at the Trine Invitational.