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Getting ready for GLIACs

NMU track and field set for conference meet

Izzie Peterson

MARQUETTE — The GLIAC Outdoor Championships are approaching and the Northern Michigan University women’s track and field team is looking as if it’s up to the challenge.

Last weekend at the GINA Relays at Hillsdale College, the Wildcats set a school record in the 4-by-200-meter relay and finished in the top 10 in a number of other events.

The record setters were junior Ninti Little, senior Lauren Alarie, sophomore Maria de Mingo Domenech and Marquette Senior High School graduate and NMU junior Izabelle Peterson.

NMU now travels to the GVSU Meet on Saturday at Grand Valley State in Allendale before the GLIAC Outdoor Meet starts Wednesday at nearby Grand Rapids and hosted by Davenport University.

In a Zoom interview Monday, Northern head coach Jenny Ryan discussed the recently set record and how her team has been performing this indoor and outdoor season.

Maria de Mingo Domenech

“It was definitely really cool,” she said of the record. “It was a 4-by-200 meter relay. It is an event that’s not actually in the GLIACs or the national championships.

“It used to be, so the record was from 2015 and we do get to run it occasionally. We do have a strong group of sprinters right now, 100 and 200 (meters), so that same group is the group that runs the 4-by-100 and they also ran a really good 4-by-100.

“Actually, that group is going to go this weekend down to a meet at Grand Valley for another chance to run that 4-by-100 and all of them (will) run the 100 and the 200 again because we were short a meet, and originally the meet we were going to go to this weekend ended up not allowing nonconference teams. It was down at St. Norbert (in suburban Green Bay, Wisconsin).

“It’s exciting for those four sprinters and we’re going to actually take that group beyond to a Last Chance Meet because they ultimately do have a chance to get that NCAA provisional mark in the 4-by-100 meter relay.”

Just like for all the sports in the NMU athletic department, it’s been a somewhat difficult season, but Ryan said her squad managed to get through the indoor season mostly unscathed. She added that everyone is healthy and that everyone has impressed her with how they’ve dealt with the unpredictability of COVID-19.

“All around, the kids are impressing me just with their ability to deal with all the struggles or the pressure of kind of what’s going on, the changes,” she said. “It’s just a great group and I think they’ve really bonded because of that even more because of the challenges that we’ve faced. The team is doing great.”

Looking ahead to next week’s GLIAC meet, Ryan expects Grand Valley and Saginaw Valley State to be the big performers, but she says her team has the potential to get close to that.

“Of course, Grand Valley is always strong and Saginaw is really strong,” Ryan said. “They have actually one athlete that’s like in the top of the nation, she’s a ‘multi’ (sport performer). Which, just like that, they can do really well at the championships. But then, we weren’t that far off of Ashland in indoor and then Wayne State ended up beating us just by (a) point and a half. So I expect that we’re going to be right toward the top, that’s the goal.

“And there’s some events that are not in the indoor that we’re strong in. We have a couple 400-meter hurdlers that are doing well that are young. I have two sophomores, but of course, this is their freshman season, they’re distance runners and they’re gonna run the 10K (10,000-meter). And I think they should do well in that 10K.

“I think just across the board, we have some kids that could do well in each event. So I think we have a chance to be toward the top of the conference for sure.”

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.

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