As the school year is coming to an end, so is the track and field season. This past weekend was the Midwest Conference championship at Zorn Memorial Stadium at Monmouth College. The Lawrence University Men’s Track and Field team ended the MWC Championship in eighth with 35 points. Monmouth College won the men’s title with 201 points. The Lawrence University Women’s Track and Field team finished the MWC Championship in ninth with 23 points, while St. Norbert College won the women’s title with 194 points.
Lawrence University track and field standouts junior Josh Janusiak and sophomore Joe Kortenhof started off the MWC Championships with a dub. They finished 1-2 in the 10,000-meter run on Friday to lead the Vikings. Janusiak won the 10,000 in 32:34.20 and Kortenhof was right behind him and finished second in 32:44.09. On the women’s side, senior Hannah Kinzer placed in fourth in the 10,000 meters in 40:31.66. Also, senior Janey Degnan took seventh in the pole vault with a height of 7’8”, and senior Kate Kilgus was eighth in the 1,500-meter run in 5:04.37.
I asked Kortenhof to recap his weekend at the MWC Championships. “For most of the outdoor season I was struggling with iron absorption issues which makes it really tiring to run. The week or two leading up to conference I started feeling a lot better, so I was really excited going into the conference meet weekend. I ran both the 10k (on Friday) and the 5k (on Saturday) this weekend. Having to run two races in one weekend is always very mentally challenging especially when they are the two longest races on the track. The only way to not get too inside of your head is to just focus on the task at hand in the moment. On Friday that was the 10k which is 25 laps around the track. It was really helpful having my teammate Josh to work with during the race and push me through those laps. It was pretty hot out and it was a difficult race, but Josh and I ended up finishing first and second place, respectively so that was a lot of fun. As for the 5k on Saturday, it was just a matter of grinding through and being mentally tough after running the 10k on the previous day.”
The men’s team had five top eight finishes on Saturday. The 4×400 relay team, which consisted of freshmen Ethan Simmons, Alex DuVall, Cullen Allard and sophomore Mike Patel finished in eighth place with a time of 3:31.00. The 4×100 relay team of Simmons, DuVall, freshmen Tom Goldberg and Allard took seventh place in 46.83 seconds. As far as the individual performances are concerned, Allard, Janusiak and Kortenhof all placed top six in their respective races. Allard finished in sixth place in the 3,000 steeplechase with a time of 10:18.85. After their great performances last week, Janusiak raced to fourth place in the 5,000 with a time of 15:03.75 while Kortenhof grabbed sixth in the 5,000 with a time of 15:22.27. He also commented on the effort of his teammates, saying, “It’s always really fun to cheer on your teammates and watch them do amazing things on the track. I think some of the most exciting performances on the distance side of things for me to watch were in the men’s and women’s steeplechase. Allard ran the steeplechase for the first time ever and placed eighth, which means he scored a point for our team. Aaron Arthur was also in that race and ran about a minute faster than he had ever run before.”
The woman’s team also had five top eight finishes on Saturday at the MWC Championships. The 4×100 relay team of sophomore Mikaela Hintz, freshmen Nora Robinson and Imani Duhe and senior Eryn Blagg finished eighth in 52.38 seconds. Hintz, along with her 4×400 relay team, which consisted of Janey Degnan, sophomore Hallie Sogin and freshman Alyssa Kuss, placed seventh in the 4×400 relay in 4:16.14. Hintz was sixth in the 400-meter sprint with a finishing time of 1:01.45. Sophomore Christina Sedall was another individual placeholder for the Vikings as she took sixth place in the steeplechase with a time of 11:58.93. Hannah Kinzer was the top finisher for the Lady Vikings this past Saturday as she took third in the 5,000 in 18:53.77.
Kortenhof also brought up Sedall’s impressive performance in the steeplechase and wrapped up the season as a whole. “[She] set a new personal record which was really fun to watch. It’s really awesome to be a part of a supportive group of people and to know that everyone on the team has each other’s backs and is behind them 100 percent. I really saw evidence of this from my teammates this weekend. Overall the season went well for me. There was a bit of a hiccup in the middle with my iron issues but I’m glad I was able to pull it back together and be all-conference in the 10k. The crazy weather here made the season a bit crazy overall for the team; basically all of our meets had to be changed to different locations, but I’m really proud of my team for how they handled it and that it didn’t stop them from performing their best.”