This past weekend, Lawrence University’s men’s and women’s track and field teams headed to Waukesha, Wisconsin, to partake in the Pioneer Invitational hosted by Carroll University. Going into this meet, the Vikings were focused on staying healthy, meaning no injuries or illnesses going into the weekend, and staying warm. The weather was nowhere near ideal for the Vikings this past weekend, which can be rough when all the events are held outside with no place to recover for warmth. However, as the season progresses, the weather might start to turn better for all spring athletes. “[This weekend] there were many season bests and some lifetime bests for those running jumping and throwing,” stated Assistant Coach Lisha Zill. “We are progressing and getting better each week, and once the weather gets warmer we should see some really great things from this team.” The Vikings showed true progress and persistence this past weekend with their results despite 40-degree weather with extreme winds. This was not ideal for any of the events in the throwing, jumping or running sections, but the Vikings were able to capitalize despite the conditions.
On the women’s side, the Vikings performed exceptionally well against the other teams at the meet, especially in the sprinting events. Sophomore Nora Robinson placed sixth in the 100-meter dash and eighth in the 200-meter dash, setting two new season bests. Robinson, sophomore Emily Hoeft, junior Mikaela Hintz and sophomore Imani Duhe finished fifth in the event with the 4×100 relay in 52.28. On the distance side of the meet, senior Molly Doruska finished fourth in the 5000-meter run with a time of 19:09.91, which is another personal best for Doruska. This time raises her to the sixth-place ranking in the Midwest Conference. Junior Christina Sedall finished sixth in the same event with a time of 19:45.28. In the field and throwing events, Hoeft finished fifth in the triple jump while junior Brielle Petit finished ninth in the hammer throw, moving her up in the conference rankings to ninth place. The women Vikings finished in seventh place in the overall team standings, finishing two spots ahead of Lake Forest College who is also in the Midwest Conference with Lawrence.
The men’s side faced a little more difficulty in their competition, but still had some excellent finishing spots. Sophomore Ethan Simmons had the strongest finish amongst the Vikings on Saturday, finishing fifth in the 400-meter run with a time of 54.57. This was his first time running the 400-meter in the outdoor season, and he followed this feat by running the 4×400-meter relay with freshman Cameron Wicks, junior Mik Patel and sophomore Cullen Allard. This relay team finished in fourth place, a mere five-tenths of a second behind Lake Forest’s relay team, with a time of 3:45.79. Allard finished in eighth place for the 800-meter run with a time of 2:04.23. The men’s Vikings finished in tenth place in the overall team rankings, beating eleventh place’s Velaasa Track Club by one point in the standings.
Now that the Vikings have two outdoor meets under their belt for the season, they are looking forward to their home meet which will be held at Whiting Field on May 4, and the championship season which will be Conference and Nationals that will occur in mid-May. “This week we are working on our relay handoffs and are continuing to look at technical form more closely as we near the end of the season,” commented Assistant Coach Zill. Once the techniques and technicalities are worked out for the Vikings, they will be able to focus on the race and motivating themselves to move forward in the season. While they are looking at their handoffs and their form, the team will also need to stay healthy. Some competed in this week’s meet, which occurred on Thursday, Apr. 18, at St. Norbert, while a few of the distance runners travelled to California for a meet. With all of the travel and the fluctuations in weather, the team is at risk of catching illness or injury. If they manage to care for themselves and for their bodies, they will be ready to compete in the championship season which is only a month away for the Vikings.
The next meet that all of the Vikings will partake in is their own home meet, the Viking Invitational. Since it is their only home meet of the season, attendance for the meet is highly encouraged and is a good way to support Lawrence and their athletes.