The women’s track team broke conference records at Saginaw Valley State University’s Holiday Open. The team made its mark at its first ever G‑MAC meet, taking first place in multiple events.
Senior team captain Rachael Tolsma won first in the weight throw that broke a G‑MAC record. Sophomore Lorina Clemence took first in the 400-meter dash in 58.51 seconds, while sophomore Abbie Porter took third place. Senior Chloe Ohlgren won third in the triple jump with her distance of 11.02 meters, the G‑MAC’s second best.
Sophomore Kathryn Bassette also broke a conference record in pole vaulting, just 4 inches below her personal record.
“I was hoping to PR on Saturday, which would have been unusual for a first meet, but I knew I could do it,” Bassette said. “Competition is built on practice, so that was kind of disappointing that I couldn’t apply what I knew in practice.”
Bassette said she didn’t know until the next morning that she had broken a record, and said that another athlete broke the record soon after.
“A lot of people switching from GLIAC to the G‑MAC are bringing really good athletes,” she said.
The freshmen certainly are bringing strength to the team. Freshman Carmen Botha ran the 60-meter hurdles in 9.15 seconds, taking second place.
“I’m really proud of my roommate, who’s from South Africa, Carmen, she got second overall,” freshman Callie Townsend said.
Freshman Zoe Eby won the 200-meter dash in 24.67 seconds. She also helped her team win second in the 4x400 relay, with seniors and Ashlee Moran and sophomore Abbie Porter.
Bassette noted the success of the freshmen on the team.
“That was really excited to see, both of our freshmen made finals,” she said. “It was really exciting to have that fresh energy.”
Townsend echoed that enthusiasm.
“It was just really exciting to be there,” she said. “I’ve never been to an indoor track meet before. I had never run a 60 hurdles before.”
She said she learned she needs to improve her start.
“When I qualified for finals I learned to fix that,” she said. “I was pleased with how I did.”
Bassette said that while losing seniors on the team was bittersweet, “the sweet side is freshmen coming in.”
Townsend said she was grateful for the upperclassmen on the team who led her and her fellow freshmen through warmups.
Wichmann called Tolsma “an amazing athlete and an even better role model.”
Bassette said the team is set up for a good season.
”It’s been a long time since I’ve been so excited about the first meet,” she said. “It made me feel really confident for the meet. I like what we’re doing in terms of encouragement on the team.”