A tough meet prepares the Vikings for Conference

This past weekend, Lawrence University’s men’s and women’s indoor track and field team competed in the Titan Challenge held at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. In a race with competitors from schools such as University of Wisconsin-Stout, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and many others, the Vikings were able to have some standout performances and work on their overall meet mentality.

Going into the Titan Challenge, the team was not really focusing on setting personal records. “Our team goals going into this meet were really just to refine our performances and perfect our techniques before Conference this coming weekend,” said senior Josh Janusiak. But as one does when perfecting techniques and working out the kinks in a performance, many athletes were able to break personal records.

Luckily, track and field is one of the few sports where your personal improvement in an event is what gives you the feeling of satisfaction more so than your actual placing in the final event.

On Saturday, Feb. 16, Janusiak raced his way not only to first in the meet, but also to a new school record in the 5000-meter run. This is the second school record he has broken this month, and if the progress continues, he will continue to improve upon his own times. Janusiak ran a time of 8:36.82, which was a whole five seconds faster than the second-place runner from UW-Stout. Janusiak had the top finish for the Vikings on Saturday. He beat his 2018 record of 8:40.31. Janusiak’s win in the 5000-meter set the men’s team up for a ninth-place finish, which is the best that either the men’s or the women’s team finished. “It was really exciting to break the record again, especially because I’ve felt a little mentally tired in the last couple races I’ve run,” commented Janusiak. “I felt really fresh in this 3000-meter and I had more of a kick than I usually do, so I’m very excited to see what another week’s rest can bring.”

On the women’s side of the meet, there were a few outstanding performances from a couple of the athletes. First year Claire Schrier took ninth in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:25.74, being only a second behind eighth place and being in a duel with tenth place who ran a time of 2:25.95. The women’s 4×400-meter relay, comprised of sophomore Emily Hoeft, Schrier, sophomore Alyssa Kuss and junior Mikaela Hintz, took tenth place with a time of 4:20.81.

Looking ahead to the next meet, the Vikings will be competing in the Midwest Conference Championship in Monmouth, Ill. Since it is now an extremely important time of the season, the Vikings are more focused on winding down and staying healthy in order to avoid any injuries before heading into the conference meet.

“We will mostly just be tapering and running easier miles with very short, fast workouts to get into peak shape without tiring ourselves out,” added Janusiak. “I think we have a chance to place pretty well at conference since we have a team that is strong in so many different areas.”

With their eyes set on the meet at Monmouth, the Vikings are still looking towards other areas of competition within the Midwest Conference while also working to finesse their own events once more, since they can continue to work on these events as they head into the outdoor season, which will prove to be more promising for practicing.

The team, due to all of the snowy and icy conditions and the below zero temperatures, has been forced to run some practices inside and on treadmills. “I’ve had good luck with staying injury free this season, and although it’s been a challenge running on treadmills all the time, most of us have still gotten a lot of miles in,” said Janusiak. Hopefully the Wisconsin weather will be kinder to the team and give them a forgiving outdoor season after this Conference meet.

With the meet this weekend, the Vikings are looking to close out the season on a good note with all of their performances finessed and as composed as can be. This is the final chance for them to showcase all of the progress that they have made on the indoor track before heading to the outdoor season. Hopefully their health will stay up and injuries will be nonexistent by the time the meet rolls around.