The Muhlenberg track and field teams have been breaking new ground the entire decade, and the last year of the decade was no different. In 2009, the Mules produced their first female indoor NCAA qualifier, their first five-time NCAA qualifier, their first freshman All-American and their first sophomore Academic All-American.
The fourth-place finish by the DMR team was the highest ever for a Mule relay team at the NCAA Championships. At the ECAC Championships, the quartet finished second in a school-record time of 10:00.70. The previous mark was set in 2003 and was the fastest time in Division III that season.
The teams not only did well individually, but also collectively. At the Centennial Conference Championships, the women placed third indoor and outdoors after finishing fifth in both meets last year. The men also improved two places, coming in fourth indoors and third outdoors. They were a point out of third place indoors.
The outdoor results marked just the third time in program history that both teams finished in the top three at the CC meet.
Barely a week went by without junior Alex Faust and/or senior David Chorney reaching some kind of milestone. Faust shattered her own school records in the pole vault both indoors and outdoors,
raising the outdoor mark from 11-1¾ to 12-6¼. She won the gold medal at the CC meet and qualified for the NCAA Championships in both. Indoors, she and
junior Jennifer Lynch (mile) became the first Mule females to compete at the NCAA meet. Faust earned All-America honors by finishing seventh in the pole vault outdoors.
Faust also set school records in the 55 meters (indoors) and the 400 meters (both indoors and outdoors) in 2009. She won the CC title and provisionally qualified for the NCAAs in the outdoor 400.
Lucy Brock, one of only two seniors on the women’s team, earned a CC silver medal as a member of the outdoor 4x100 relay team. She also placed in the hurdles both indoors (fifth in the 55) and outdoors (seventh in the 100).
Chorney also qualified for the NCAAs in both seasons; combined with three NCAA appearances in cross country, that made him the first athlete in College history to compete in the national championships five times. Indoors, he ran on the distance medley relay team (with senior Stuart Udis, sophomore Bobby Torphy and freshman Peter Rice) that finished fourth to earn All-America status. Outdoors, Chorney competed in the steeplechase, an event in which he fourth at Penn Relays, and he also qualified in the 1,500.
Lynch enjoyed a breakout season in her first year with the track program. She set school records in the 1,000, mile and 3,000 indoors and the 5,000 outdoors and won a silver medal with the 4x800 relay team indoors.
The Muhlenberg teams combined to win nine gold medals at the CC meets, with Faust accounting for all three on the women’s side. The men’s team won
in the 4x800 both indoors and outdoors. The indoor gold was the fourth in a row for the Mules, with Udis running on all four. The senior anchored the winning team indoors and ran the third leg outdoors, handing off to Torphy, a third-team Academic All-American.
Chorney was named Most Outstanding Performer for track events at the CC Indoor Championships after winning gold medals in the mile and DMR. He set six individual school records in 2009: in the 1,000, the mile and the 3,000 indoors and in the 1,500, the 5,000 and the steeplechase outdoors.
The men added another relay gold when the 4x100 quartet (juniors Brendan Kirk, William Ryan and Jeremiah Lachaud) became the
first sprint relay team to win a gold medal at a conference meet in the history of the program. That group also broke the school record earlier in the season. Kirk added a gold medal in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles for the second time in three years.
Two outstanding freshmen earned individual silver medals at the CC meets. Marc Brookland placed second in the long jump outdoors and added two bronzes by coming in third in the triple jump both indoors and outdoors, break a 22-year-old school record in the latter meet. Jenna Schaffer hauled in four silvers, outdoors in the 100, 4x100 and both indoors and outdoors in the 4x400. Another freshman, Kimberlee Yalango, won silvers in the 4x400 both indoors and outdoors and the 4x800 indoors, and Rice complemented his indoor DMR gold with a bronze in the 400 outdoors.
Lachaud also won four silver medals, individually in the 55 (indoors), 100 (outdoors) and 200 (outdoors) and as part of the indoor 4x200 team.
Udis, Torphy and Chorney came in 2-3-4, respectively in the 800 indoors, with Torphy silvering in the 800 outdoors.