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(Mt. Pleasant, Mich.) As the Indoor Track & Field season resumed after the holidays, the Cornerstone Women's team demonstrated their early season fitness placing in the top four in eight events at the Central Michigan University Chippewa Open.
Brittany Green started the evening by winning the long jump. Her mark of 18' 4.5" bettered the NAIA automatic qualifying standard for the third time this season. Teammate Lindsay Lipa placed third, jumping 17' 4.25". Freshman, Whitney Grossman was eigth in the long jump and improved her best in the high jump to 5' .25" taking seventh. Lipa added a PR in the triple jump, earning third for her 35' .5" effort. In the 20 pound weight throw, Haley Russell launched a season-best 46' 10" for fourth place.
Freshman, Kaitlyn Bronkema won her heat in her first 600 meter race. Her time of 1:44.83 was good for fifth overall.
Just before the 800 meters, a dozen children from age three to eight assembled on the starting line to race one lap around the 200 meter track. With enthusiastic support from the near capacity crowd they sprinted, jogged and meandered in and out of the lanes of the oval. The first two boys came through nearly side by side. Others followed at various speeds and levels of motivation. One little guy gave chase as a girl passed him with 40 meters to go, got tangled in his own feet and tumbled to the track. His expression didn't change as he scrambled back up and continued his pursuit.
As the last few came in the applause rose and fell with the gaps between runners then dropped off as it appeared everyone was done. Then, around the final turn came Central Michigan University's Head Coach and Director or Cross Country and Track & Field, Willie Randolph, shuffling sideways, leaning over giving step by step encouragement to one more little girl. She wore a pleased, but unhurried look on her as she walked along. The noise from the spectators resumed in a crescendo with each step and the girl responded by breaking into a trot. Athletes on the infield moved to the edge of the track, adding their cheers and encouragement. In the final meters a little boy dashed back from the finish line, came alongside the girl, running next to her with his hand on her back to help with the pace. The poignant act of pure sportsmanship resulted in smiles and louder cheers and a reminder of what makes Track & Field such a great sport.
When collegiate competition resumed, Julie Oosterhouse took fourth in the 800 meters in 2:21.91.
Junior, Jill Louisignau had the top CU running performance of the evening taking third in the 3,000 meter run. Her time of 10:36.31 was less than two seconds off the NAIA provisional standard.
Lipa, Ooosterhouse, Anita Souza and Larissa Hamption combined for third place in the 4 x 400 meter relay, running 4:12.15.
The Golden Eagles return to West Michigan for their next meet, the Mike Lints Open hosted by Grand Valley State University on Friday, January 18.