At first glance, an outsider might look at the Muhlenberg track and field teams’ 2008 Centennial Conference finishes and think that the Mules may not have done as well as in recent years. That is at first glance.
Senior Erika Koop finished second in the high jump at the CC Championships both indoors and outdoors.
The Muhlenberg women placed fifth at the CC meet both indoor and outdoors, while the men were fifth outdoors and sixth indoors.
But with squads that were relatively small to begin with and suffered a series of untimely injuries to key performers, the Mules closed out the year with an incredible outdoor CC meet at Gettysburg, exceeding everyone’s expectations with their performances.
In total, during the year the teams combined to set 15 school records and win six CC gold medals and one ECAC gold medal.
Sophomore Alex Faust was responsible for three of the six CC golds, winning the pole vault both indoors and outdoors and the 400 meters indoors. She is the first athlete in Muhlenberg history to win the same event at the CC meet indoors and outdoors as a freshman and sophomore. Faust set indoor school records in the 200 and pole vault, provisionally qualifying for NCAAs in the latter, and tied her outdoor pole vault record.
Senior Adam Carter scored points in all three hurdles events at the two CC meets.
Junior Stuart Udis had an outstanding indoor season before an injury sidelined him for the spring. He provisionally qualified for NCAAs in the 800 meters, contributed to three school records (800, 4x800 and 4x1600), and won three gold medals: two at the CC meet (800 and 4x800) and one at the ECAC Championships (4x800). The latter performance marked the fourth time in the last six years that a Mule men’s relay team captured first place at the ECAC indoor meet.
Muhlenberg’s other gold medal came at the CC outdoor meet, when senior Michael Karchner won the decathlon for the second time in three years.
In addition to winning the CC decathlon with 5892 points (13 short of the meet record), Karchner placed seventh in the long jump and 4x100 relay and eighth in the 110 hurdles.
Juniors David Chorney and Timothy Van Syckle stamped their names on the record book in dramatic fashion.
Chorney contributed to indoor records in the 3,000 meters, 4x800 and 4x1600 indoors, then found startling success
in the steeplechase outdoors. The first time he ran the event, he broke the school record by more than 16 seconds, and he lowered his mark each of the next two times he competed. By the time he finished fourth at the Swarthmore Last Chance Meet, Chorney had taken 25 seconds off the old school record and missed the NCAA provisional mark by less than two seconds. He won a bronze in the steeple at the CC Championships and added a silver in the 1,500.
Senior Emily Karel was part of three relay teams that scored points at the CC Indoor Championships.
Van Syckle also found extraordinary success in a new event, shattering the school record by almost a minute in his first stab at the 10,000 meters. Van Syckle also broke the indoor record in the 5,000 by almost nine seconds.
Other Mules to break school records in individual events were sophomores Debra Crockett (indoor shot put), Brendan Kirk (400 hurdles) and Jeremiah Lachaud (outdoor 200).
Talented newcomers to the squads included Bobby Torphy, who won a silver in the 800 at the CC outdoor meet, and freshmen Kim Bier, Hannah Mitchell and Abby Simons, who made up three-quarters of the school-record-setting 4x1600 (indoors) and 4x800 (outdoors) relay teams.