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Friends track caps record-breaking year with trip to nationals

JAVIER CEJAHere’s my preview of the Friends University men’s and women’s track and field teams trip to the NAIA Championships at Indiana Wesleyan in Marion, Ind.

The gist is that the Falcons went a perfect 6-for-6 in KCAC titles this season in men’s and women’s cross country, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field and have a pair of long-distance runners who have real shots at winning national titles – an incredible feat if you know anything about how the KCAC has scrapped the last couple of years to put its athletes in a spot where they could be competitive on this level. Senior Javier Ceja is the No. 1 ranked men’s marathon runner in the country and junior Jordan Arnold finished second in the nation in the women’s indoor 5,000 and has only lost to one NAIA runner all year.

Friends track coach Brad Peterson, only in his third year, has put together a real juggernaut, but it will be a few years before a team from the KCAC can compete on the national level. To understand it a little better: The Friends men are bringing seven male and six female athletes to the national meet. The schools that win usually have about 25-30 at the meet – something that could definitely happen for a KCAC team in the near future.