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TMC Insider: Athletes prepare for big week

Track and field, baseball both get ready for national competition

Posted: May 18, 2013 11:32 p.m.
Updated: May 18, 2013 11:32 p.m.
 

We’re down to two sports still competing for The Master’s College.

And this week, both the track and field team and the baseball team are preparing for the year’s biggest events.

A strong group of track and field athletes are preparing for the NAIA national championships while the baseball team will travel north later in the week for the NAIA World Series.

Track and Field

The Master’s College track and field program has more athletes than ever before traveling to the 2013 NAIA Track and Field Outdoor National Championships in Marion, Indiana beginning Thursday. Despite the fact that the majority of TMC’s track athletes are making their national championship debut, a handful of Mustangs have a chance to claim All-American honors.

Leading the women’s team is freshman standout Karis Frankian in the 10K and Hannah Kellerman in the 1,500 meters. On the men’s side, John Gilbertson is looking to lead his team as he tries to accomplish something never done before for the Mustangs: claim All-American track and field honors in the 5K and 10K.

On Thursday, Kellerman, who currently holds the NAIA’s sixth-fastest time in the 1,500 meters, will compete in that event’s prelim. Kellerman enters with the potential to be the first All-American in program history at the 1,500. Kellerman’s seed time of 4 minutes, 34.07 seconds leads a group of very competitive athletes all looking for the coveted All-American spots given to the top eight athletes in each event. Should she advance, Kellerman will compete in the 1500 final the next day at noon.

Following her 5K and 10K victories at the Golden State Athletic Conference Championships in late April, Frankian will represent The Master’s College in the women’s 10,000. The Saugus High product enters the national meet as one of the best freshman in the NAIA.

In the men’s 10,000 meters, Gilbertson is the first Mustang to qualify for the event since TMC alumnus Jeff Jackson (2011) did in 2009. Gilbertson is the clear favorite and has the potential to be the college’s first-ever national champion in the race. His time of 28:30.35 is currently the seventh-fastest time run by an American so far this year and puts more than a minute better than the closest competitor.

Last year at the national championships, Gilbertson lost his shoe in the prelim of the 5,000 and was barely able to finish the final with his foot blistered and bloodied. Looking to rebound, Gilbertson has the potential to race at the front of the as he prepares for the USA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa later in June. On Friday at 4 p.m., Gilbertson is slated to compete in the 5,000 prelims, leading up to the final on Saturday at 2:55 p.m.

Other NAIA championship qualifiers for TMC include David Eller in the 3,000 steeplechase, Matthew Crichton in the 1,500, and John Hurd, Camden McAlister and Tyler Tockstein will all three compete in the marathon.

On the women's side for TMC, competing in both the 100 and 400 hurdles will be Ayla Draper, while Katrina Graham will join Frankian in the 10,000.

Baseball

On the heels of an impressive 11-7 victory over conference rival San Diego Christian in the final game of the 2013 NAIA National Championship Opening Round-Santa Clarita Bracket on May 11, the Mustangs (43-15) learned on Monday afternoon that they will face Northwood of Texas (43-11) in the first round of the 2013 NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho. First pitch is scheduled for noon on Friday.

TMC, which is making its first NAIA World Series appearance since 2000, enters as the tournament’s No. 5 seed while Northwood is seeded fourth.

The other eight participants are: Faulkner (Ala.), Lee (Tenn.), Embry-Riddle (Fla.), York (Neb.), Lewis-Clark State (Idaho), Sterling (Kan.), Missouri Baptist, and Rogers State (Okla.).

Notably, as of May 5, seven of the 10 World Series teams are ranked among the top ten in the NAIA.

Commenting on the Mustangs’ trip to Idaho later this week, 17th-year head coach Monte Brooks stated, “We are thrilled for the opportunity to play and represent The Master’s College and the Golden State Athletic Conference in the 2013 NAIA World Series.”

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