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Wiley grabs 2 track titles

Huntington University’s Addy Wiley broke the school records in the 800 and 1500 meter runs
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The Forester track and field program wrapped up the year by enjoying two national titles and 11 All-American honors at the 2023 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships at IWU’s Wildcat Complex in Marion. Freshman Addy Wiley made it look easy by cruising to a pair of national titles within a two-hour span Friday afternoon. She crushed the competition by eight seconds in the 1500 meters by posting a time of 4:14.56. Not long after, she toed the line of the 800 meters and sailed around the track twice in 2:04.29 to beat the defending champion by nearly four seconds. Wiley set new HU program records in both races, breaking the previous 800 record by three seconds and smashing the 1500 record by ten seconds. Kent Yoder kicked things off for HU by earning the program’s first All-American honor of the meet Wednesday night. He outran his #13 seeding in the 10,000 to finish seventh in 30:55.58. Competing in the heptathlon for the first time on the national stage, Destiny Copeland was also an overachiever. She outperformed her ranking by two spots to take fifth with a program-record 4,652 points which included topping the hep field in the 200, 800 and long jump. Several hours after the completion of the heptathlon on Thursday, Copeland was back at it for triple jump. Her mark of 12.32 meters was a season-best and landed her third on the podium for her second All-American badge of the day. The 4x800 meter relay team jostled the line-up from the prelims to the finals and it paid off as the 6th-seeded quad finish fifth in 9:10.22 to rack up four more All-American honors on Thursday. Mackenzie Brewer started off with the baton followed by Abbey Gentz, Wiley and Emily Tedder. Tedder also earned a spot in the 1500 meter finals where she finished 12th in 4:43.72. Erica Xayarath competed in all three jumps this week which included long jump (13th, 5.43 meters) on Wednesday, triple jump (22nd, 11.41 meters) on Thursday and high jump (11th, 1.65 meters) on Friday. On the men’s side, Dylan Felger was up to his usual antics in the 400 meter hurdles. For the third straight year he medaled by taking second in 51.07 this spring after finishing third last year and claiming the title in 2021. Sophomore Zach Collins brought home his first All-American praise in Forester green in the 400 meters. The Lakewood Park Christian product sprinted his way to sixth place in 47.34  which broke his own school record and proved ten spots ahead of his #16 seeding.  He also lined up for the 200 meters where he finished 24th in 21.45. Junior Austin Liepe also made his appearance on the big stage in the 10,000 where he finished 17th in 31:30.19 on Wednesday and then stepped back on the track for the 5,000 on Thursday where he finished 31st in 15:56.35. As a team, the Forester women racked up 36 points to post a sixth place finish out of 61 teams while the HU men collected 13 points to finish 25th of 76. “Nationals was a perfect exclamation point on a great season for our program. We knew we had a chance to be in the top ten, maybe even top five nationally and came away in sixth place which is a true testament to our athletes and coaching staff,” HU coach Austin Roark said. “On the men’s side, what a great meet for our four guys who competed. Dylan, Zach and Kent came away as All-Americans and with some hardware.” Moving to the women’s team, Roard added, “Addy did what she does best, and that’s win and keep her team in the hunt. She’s had an amazing season and isn’t done yet. Destiny capped off her career with a couple more All-American medals and cemented her legacy as an NAIA great. “Congrats to our coaching staff on an incredible year. We have one of the best staffs in the country - all divisions. This year was just the beginning of Forester track and field.”