Spring Arbor pole vaulter punches ticket to track & field national championships

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Spring Arbor University track and field teams wrapped up another big day on the track at the Aquinas College Quad-Meet on Friday. Sophomore Bethany Kuenzer became the third Cougar to hit a national qualifying standard while two more school records fell.

Kuenzer punched her ticket to the NAIA indoor national championships by hitting the “B” standard in the pole vault. Kuenzer cleared a height of 11′ 2.5″ (3.42 meters) to earn sixth place in the event. The mark is a new career-best for the sophomore, and ranks second in program history.

Kuenzer’s day was not done there as she also turned in a career-best performance in the 60 meter hurdles. She ran a 9.58 in the prelims – ranking second all-time at SAU – to qualify for the finals, and would place sixth in the race.

Adding to the excitement, sophomore Mycah Ridder and freshman Joshua Smith each set new program records. A week after breaking the program-best time in the 60 meter dash, Ridder established a new all-time mark in the event with a time of 8.02.

Also, re-writing the record book was freshman Joshua Smith, who turned in an 8.51 in the men’s 60 meter hurdles to take down Kelly Maxwell’s previous record of 8.53 set in 2013. Smith joins his father, SAU Hall of Famer Darrow Smith, as a program record holder. Darrow Smith owns the fastest-time in school history in the 55 meter hurdles with a time of 7.88 set in 1982.

Junior Alex Lodes, senior Simon Reidsma and junior Daniel Garza also had standout performances for the men. Lodes posted a first place finish in the 60 with a time of 7.06 and took second in the 200 meter dash with a time of 22.99. Meanwhile, Reidsma and Garza finished one-two in the 3000 meter run. Reidsma crossed the finish line in 9:06.21 followed by Garza in 9:09.63.

In the field events, reigning Crossroads League Field Athlete of the Week Kevin Smith grabbed third place in the long jump and fourth in the triple jump. The sophomore hit a mark of 20′ 8.5″ (6.31 meters) in the long jump and 41′ 5.0″ (12.62 meters) in the triple.

For the women, freshman Caitlin Clark would take home first in the 3000, completing the race in a personal-best time of 10:50.79, while also grabbing fourth in the mile run with a time of 5:27.65.

Fellow freshman Katrina Tovar would earn a second place finish in the long jump with a season-best leap of 16′ 10.0″ (5.13 meters).

The Spring Arbor women would finish in third place at the meet racking up 91 points while the men would finish fourth accumulating 104 points.

The Cougars return to action at the Don and Riley Zimmer Indoor Classic, hosted by Trine University, on Friday, Jan. 29 in Angola, Indiana.






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