This past weekend, the Lawrence University men’s and women’s track teams competed in the last meet of the regular season: the Midwest Conference Championship. This was a meet where the Vikings raced against all the teams in their conference with a chance to qualify for Nationals. The meet spanned over two days, Friday and Saturday, May 10 and 11, respectively. The Vikings travelled once again to De Pere, Wisconsin to compete on St. Norbert College’s track to compete. The weather finally proved to be pleasant and was perfect for the event.
“The conference meet was a really positive experience for most of us, if not just because there was a lot of team bonding,” stated senior Josh Janusiak. “The weather was incredibly nice for running and field events most of the time—about 60 degrees and sunny both days.” There were some exceptional performances from Vikings, and there were some challenges as well. Senior Molly Doruska, with an already phenomenal performance in her parting season, placed sixth in the 10,000-meter run with a time of 40:38.45. In the same race, but for the men’s side, Janusiak placed first with a time of 31:07.75, and junior Joe Kortenhof placed third with a time of 31:29.95. In the 3,000-meter Steeple Chase, freshman Leah Hawksford had an unfortunate fall into the water pits and hurt herself, but she still finished strong in her event in ninth place with a time of 12:44.50. Doruska finished fifth in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 18:54.99, competing in an exciting race at the very end, finishing a mere eight-tenths behind fifth place. Janusiak finished third in the men’s 5,000-meter run with a time of 14:55.56, while Kortenhof finished a couple seconds behind him in fourth place with a time of 14:57.49. The Viking men finished in ninth place overall, only five points behind Knox College, while the Viking women finished with nine points, tying for eighth place with Knox College.
The Vikings are looking forward to a few team members competing in the Last Chance Meet for a final chance to qualify for Nationals next weekend. As it looks right now, Janusiak is placed sixteenth overall in Division III in the 10,000-meter run. The top 20 competitors in each event will travel to Ohio and compete in Nationals. Kortenhof is another viable option for a runner in Nationals, but he would have to run quickly during the Last Chance Meet in order to qualify. During the final two weeks of the season, the Vikings will continue to work hard and hone in on their techniques while also participating in team activities. After the season is over, the seniors will depart while everyone in their stead will start prepping for next year.
“We will most definitely miss the seniors,” commented Assistant Coach Lisha Zill. “They are all great leaders and have not only lead with great performances, but off the track as well in academics and team activities. [Janusiak] leaves some very big shoes to fill on the men’s distance side. [Doruska] also on the women’s distance side, she had an amazing outdoor season and really blew everyone away.” All of the seniors worked together to create a large family and impacted the team dynamic greatly as they grew. Not only will the seniors be missed by all of those left at Lawrence and the coaches, but the senior Vikings will also miss the team that they have bonded with over the past four years. However, they have no fear that the younger Vikings will have any trouble moving forward next year. “The rest of the senior class and I will really miss this team, because we have many very kind and wonderful people on our team who I know will go on to do great things,” added Janusiak. “I don’t think our team will have any problem continuing with strong leadership.”
The season will end on a positive note for most of the Vikings, as their last big meet of the season shaped up exactly as planned, if not better for some of the athletes. The last thing on their agenda for the season is their team banquet where they will honor many of the Vikings on the Track and Field team and where the seniors will be able to say their final farewells to their friends and teammates.