The Lawrence Viking Track and Field team had a tough time in the heat and humidity at the Midwest Athletic Conference Championship meet at Grinnell last weekend, something that has been foreign to Appleton, Wis., this spring. “We just didn’t get a chance to train in that weather this spring,” noted sophomore Sophie Yang. Despite the weather, the Vikings had a very successful outing. The men’s team took seventh overall and the women’s team took ninth.
Leading the way for the women’s team again was Yang, who claimed third overall in the pole vault with a jump of 10 feet, 0.5 inches. The height ties her collegiate best and gives her something off which to build next season. “We recently got a new pole-vaulting coach, which has helped a lot,” said Yang. “He really helped me prepare mentally for the event.” Yang also took eighth place in the 400-meter hurdles and seventh in the 100-meter hurdles.
The women’s team also had strong distance performances from sophomore Clare Bruning and senior Katherine Dannecker. Bruning nabbed fourth in the 5000-meter run with her time of 19:10.61. Dannecker was fifth in the steeplechase, crossing the line in 12:09.43. Off the track, sophomore Genna Matt performed well for the Vikings, taking sixth place in the hammer throw.
The men’s team was led on the first day by sophomore Cam Davies. He was ranked sixth in conference going in to the 1500-meter race. Davies ended up finishing third, giving up second place in the last ten meters. His time of 4:02.69 was a massive eight-second personal best. Davies also fared well on the second day of competition when he grabbed fifth place in the steeplechase.
On the second day of competition, sophomore JP Ranumas secured the highest finish by any Viking when he took second in the 110-meter hurdle competition. His time of 15.59 seconds was less than three-tenths of a second behind the winner.
Also placing for the men were seniors Jamie Brisbois and Andy Paider, freshman Wes Hatcher and sophomore James Holden.
After an intense two-day conference championship meet, it feels like a load has been lifted off the Viking Track and Field team’s collective shoulders. “I decided today to just go on a bike ride,” said senior Anna Ratliff during a chance encounter in the hall. “It’s fun to move on to new things.”
The seniors this year deserve a few days of rest after leading the team for almost two seasons. “Since we only graduated four seniors last year,” noted sophomore Cam Davies, “they’ve been serving as the team leaders both on and off the track for two years.”
Looking forward to next year, Davies stated, “We have some very, very talented kids coming in, and we have to begin to accept that we are a very good team that has come a long way since [head coach] Jason Fast has joined us.”