Biola’s track and field team contains many new elements. New interim coach Bill Crumley has stepped into the role of head coach after Jonathan Zimmerman stepped down from 11 years of being both the cross country and track and field head coach. Eighteen freshmen have been added to the roster to fill the spots of 11 seniors from last season.
Nineteen members of the team competed in the On Your Mark meet hosted by Westmont University on Jan. 31. Of those competitors, three took first place in their events and two qualified for the NAIA Indoor National Tournament.
“It was kind of a time-to-get-going meet for us,” Crumley said. “It was the first time out for everyone this season and our goal was to go out and hopefully have a nice day, which we did.”
Senior Nicole Falkenstein earned a spot to compete in the indoor national tournament with a 3.48 meter first place finish in the pole vault. Despite accomplishing her goal of qualifying for the Indoor National tournament in the first meet, Falkenstein strives to better herself in the meets leading up to the national tournament.
“This year I hope to vault 12'6" in the pole vault, which would be a personal record for me,” Falkenstein said. “I also hope to compete and become All-American at both indoor and outdoor nationals.”
Junior Anika Gasner qualified in the “A” group for her 800 meter race with a 2:15:35 time for first place.
The women’s 4x400 relay team took home a second place finish with a time of 4:09.33 behind Westmont who took first with a time of 3:50.30.
Senior Kevin Horchler was the only one on the men’s team to qualify for nationals with his first place finish of 8:40.87 in the 3,500 meter race. Fellow senior Jeff Tran also took home a first place finish for the men’s team, with a 4.15 jump in the pole vault.
“We’re trying to progress from where we are now and improve a little bit each meet,” said Crumley. “We are taking more people to the next and hopefully keep improving.”
Both teams will compete in Westmont University’s Sunshine Indoor meet on Feb. 6.