On Saturday, representatives from The Master’s University, Westmont College, and William Jessup University competed at the TMU Half Marathon.
Although the field was small, Saturday’s event boasted a high percentage of marathon qualifiers for the 66th Annual Men’s Outdoor Track & Field National Championships from May 25-27 at the Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Collectively, six NAIA “A” standards and two NAIA “B” standards qualifying marks were posted (Men “A”/”B” 1:13:30/1:15:00).
Among the national qualifying individuals were TMU’s Andrew Orona, Joshua Sherfey, Tim Gutierrez, and Alec Franco, with times of 1:11:37, 1:12:33, 1:12:34, and 1:13:42 respectively. Notably, the four Mustang men swept the top four spots in the race.
Orona’s first-place finish was an impressive accomplishment, as this was his half marathon debut.
Sherfey, who previously qualified to compete in the marathon at the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships after winning the Surf City Half Marathon and setting a new school record just two weeks ago, aimed to pace his teammates to national qualifying marks on Saturday.
This goal was achieved as head coach Zach Schroeder now plans to have Gutierrez join Sherfey at the national championships in the marathon.
“Tim is stronger and fitter than he’s ever been,” commented Schroeder. “Tim is the gold standard of commitment and work ethic. Obviously, hard work pays off. I’m very excited to take these guys to compete at the national championships in May. I am confident they will represent the university well and chase down top finishing spots.”
The Mustangs now look to earn more qualifying marks next Saturday (February 25, 2017) when they compete at the Rossi Relays in Claremont.