Multiple members of Ferris’ track and field team ran and threw their way to national qualifying performances Friday, Jan. 10.
The Mike Lints Open, hosted by Grand Valley State University, showcased teams from Michigan, Canada and the Midwest. The second consecutive non-scoring meet gave the Bulldogs another opportunity to demonstrate talents on an individual level.
“It is just our second meet, and everyone has shown tremendous improvement so far this season,” Ferris senior thrower J.J. Vandenburg said.
Ferris senior long distance runner Anna Rudd added another win to her total this year, with a victory in the 3,000 meter run. She completed the run in 9:43, fast enough for a national qualifying mark.
The latest win gave Rudd a total of three first-place finishes in the past two weeks, and her most recent time was 19 seconds faster than her mark last week.
Ferris junior mid distance runner Samantha Johnson obtained the same honor, as she darted across the finish line in seventh place.
In the women’s 800 meter event, Ferris sophomore mid distance runner Shea Van Klompenberg brought home fourth place, with 2:20 for the Bulldogs. The race was tight up front, but a competitor from Windsor, Ontario won the event by a convincing five seconds.
On the men’s side, Ferris senior mid distance runner Ryan Chute met the national provisional standard in the 3,000 meter with a time of 8:24 for seventh place. Chute improved by 30 seconds in comparison to a 3,000 meter run from last week.
Ferris junior Jessica Pilling took fifth place in the women’s weight throw.
Pilling, an All-American in the event, has the most experience in the event for Ferris since she has competed in the weight throw since attending high school in Canada, according to Vandenburg. Most Michigan high schools do not hold the event at their meets. Pilling had an advantage in mastering her form for the event.
Vandenburg said the team is lucky to have her compete for the Bulldogs. Pilling’s family has a history with Central Michigan University’s track and field team. Pilling originally sided with CMU, but a coach Pilling found favorable landed a coaching spot at Ferris. She inevitably followed.
The Bulldogs do not have many competitors in many field events.
Vandenburg said that a lack of indoor amenities has brought difficulty to the Bulldogs’ recruiting process for track and field. Larger universities that share the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with Ferris have amenities recruits are looking for.
Next, the Bulldogs will travel to Saginaw Valley State to compete in the Cardinal
Open Jan. 25.