The track teams competed at the Eastbay Invitational in what was by far the largest meet of the season last Saturday. The team rose to the challenge in some areas and found out where they needed to work in others.
Fighting both large numbers of competitors and their own personal training hurtles, the Vikings were able to represent Lawrence well against some of the best teams in the Midwest.
Despite some small setbacks, Head Coach Jason Fast remarked, “We are really starting to click, and it showed.” Junior high jumper Rose Tepper was happy with the team’s performance last Saturday: “As a team this year we have improved substantially and last week’s meet proves this.”
Tepper herself had an impressive day, grabbing fourth overall with her jump of five feet, 1.25 inches. Plagued by injuries such as the heartbreaking dislocated knee she suffered last year before conference, Tepper has been slowly working her way up to where she was last year. Her jump on Saturday was still two and a half inches short of what it was last year at the Eastbay Invitational, but she is still confident.
“Regarding conference this weekend, I am a competitive person and I am confident in my abilities to win my event,” said Tepper.
Other notable finishes on the women’s side were freshman Anna Bolgrien’s time of 10.01s in the 60-meter hurdles and senior Emily Muhs’s finish of 5:39 in the mile run. Bolgrien’s time, in addition to being tauntingly close to that stellar sub-ten second mark, puts her seeded seventh overall in the Midwest Athletic Conference. Muhs, whose comfort zone lies more in the longer races, responded quite well to the competitiveness of the shorter race.
Sam Stevens put together another stellar performance in what has turned out to be a season of stellar performances for the junior from Suamico, Wisc. This time in the shorter distance of the mile run. Stevens set a new personal record with his time of 4:23.21, which was good enough to claim third overall — the best Lawrentian performance of the day. Stevens owns the top time in the conference in the 5,000-meter run (15:24.61) and has a runner-up time in the 3,000 (8:50.83), and this performance in the mile puts him again in the runner-up position. Always humble and looking to improve, Stevens remarked, “I definitely had a faster time in mind as a goal, but I can’t complain with a [personal record].”
Despite some disappointing performances in the men’s open 800 meter, the team continued to improve. Looking forward to this weekend’s conference meet and beyond, everyone is excited. Stevens emphasized the need for the relay teams to come through. “Because the focus at conference is getting points, more emphasis for us is placed on the relays, where we have a chance to place highly,” he remarked.
Fast iterated that for the team, this weekend’s Indoor Conference Championships are just a stepping-stone for goals for outdoor track and beyond. “We are always looking to improve ourselves as our season goes on,” noted Fast, citing a desire after the close of the indoor season for “a fresh start and a new opportunity to accomplish great things.”
The MAC Indoor Conference Meet will be held in Jacksonville, Ill. this Friday and Saturday, after which the Vikings will have a couple weeks off before jumping into the outdoor season.