By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Sports Writer
The Mustangs track and field breakout season concluded with eight NAIA All-American selections, the most selections by far in school history.
The team surged in their strong finish at the national championship meet in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
Freshman star Hannah Fredericks became the first Mustang to receive multiple All-American honors on the same day. Fredericks, a Saugus alumni, earned her awards after her stellar finishes in the 1500 and 5000-meter races.
The former Centurion finished third in the 1500 in 4-minutes and 28.35 seconds as well as registering an eighth place finish in the 5000 in 17-minutes and 56.48 seconds.
“Having eight All-Americans is really sweet,” said Fredericks. “Being able to share this with girls and guys on the team makes it better. I’m thankful for the opportunity to be at Masters and be on the team.”
Mustangs head coach Zach Schroeder was impressed with his freshman but saw what she was capable of after Fredericks held her own against stiff competition at the UCLA Bob Larsen Distance Carnival and the Mt. SAC relays.
“It shows the athlete she is and who she can become,” said Schroeder. “It’s definitely not out of the picture for her to take home a top two spot at Eugene.”
Fredericks performances have helped punch her ticket to the USATF U20 Championships in Eugene, Oregon on June 20, where she’ll race in the 5000.
The other woman All-American Mustang was Ellen Palmgren, who finished in third place in the women’s 800 meter run.
Palmgren finished with a mark of 2-minutes and 12.97 seconds, just .02 seconds ahead of fourth and fifth place.
According to Schroeder, Palmgren came in as a freshman with great credentials but struggled with health issues early on. The sophomore stuck to it and reignited her athletic career this year.
“This year we really saw the Ellen Palmgren we recruited,” said Schroeder. “She’s quickly going to be one of the best in the nation.”
On the mens’ side, Davis Boggess and Daniel Rush became the first Masters’ teammates to earn All-American titles in the same race.
The Mustang duo literally ran together in the mens’ 5000, with Boggess finishing second in 14-minutes and 47.15 seconds and Rush finishing just behind in fourth with a time of 14-minutes and 52.25 seconds.
“I would describe this season as an amazing gift,” said Boggess. “I made a personal record in every track event that I raced. I was also able to qualify for nationals as an individual for the first time and was blessed with a great coach, training partners, and parents.”
Freshman Caleb Pouliot made a name for himself finishing as the NAIA runner up in pole vault.
Pouliot cleared 4.95 meters to earn the silver and All-American honors.
“He’s been such an incredible addition to track and field at the Masters,” said Schroeder. “Finishing second as a freshman, he has the opportunity to advance what we’re doing.”
Graduate student Wesley Methem earned his second consecutive honor running in the 10,000 meter run. Methem finished sixth with a time of 30-minutes, 49.85-seconds in his All-American performance.
Anthony Ghiorso finished seventh in the men’s 1500. Ghiorso earned the All-American honors with a time of 3-minutes and 54.02 seconds, in a tight finish.
Schroeder described his team as one of the most loving units he’s had at Masters. The team showcased brother and sisterhood cheering one another on all throughout the championships.
“I would describe this team as a brotherhood,” said Boggess. “The energy and accountability on this team is amazing. Most of my best friends are in the team and I am excited to have many of them in my wedding in less than a month.”
The team will have plenty of new faces next year with a good amount of seniors and graduate students departing this year. Schroeder will likely PR as a recruiter in the summer as he currently has 21 athletes coming in to join the team next season.
The largest recruiting class of his tenure has the head coach excited for the future of Masters track and field.
“I think we’ll see the highest finish by both the mens and womens side,” said Schroeder.
As for Fredericks, she’ll have the USATF U20 championships to gear up for before she heads back into training for her second year of Masters cross country.
“I’m super excited,” said Fredericks. “It’s definitely a sweet opportunity. I’m excited to see what the Lord blesses us with, it can be a nice cherry on top of the season.”