For the first time in almost a decade, the Lawrence University track and field program hosted a track meet on their own blue turf. Fueled by the decision to resurface the Whiting Field track two years ago, the coaches decided it was about time to run, jump, and throw right at home again.
The Vikings welcomed St. Norbert College to the new blue-surfaced track on what turned out to be a beautiful sunny day, and once again, the throwing team made a huge impact. Senior Nick Kerkman eclipsed his own school record in the hammer throw, setting the new mark at 46.63m — a full two meters further than his previous record.
“I could tell right away that the throw was going to be good,” noted Kerkman. “I was balanced throughout the throw, and I was able to get some power behind it on the release.”
At the conference meet next weekend, perhaps the last time that Kerkman will ever throw collegiately, he hopes to break 50m. He stated, “If I can throw any further than at this last meet I would be happy with my final chance to throw as a Viking.”
Kerkman, who along with fellow senior Stan Jablonski had been the only thrower of note on the team last year, has had some big help this year from freshman newcomers. “This year we have four new throwers, three are freshman and have made solid contributions to the team,” remarked Kerkman, “Nick Craker and Spencer Swick are throwing huge distances in the shot-put and discus and have a real chance at scoring points at the conference meet this weekend.”
The underclassmen have really been privy to great leadership from both Kerkman and Jablonski. Craker said, “They have led the team all season and they have set the pace and brought a high intensity level that I will try and feed off of this weekend [at conference].”
Freshmen Craker and Swick both contributed to the scoring last weekend in both the shot-put and the discus. In the shot, Craker threw 13.79m, and Swick 13.18m to nab first and second place respectively. In the discus, it was Craker again barely ahead, throwing 39.9m to Swick’s 37.71, which was good enough for second and third place respectively. In her first-ever collegiate track meet, sophomore Brielle Bartes won the woman’s division of the shot put with her throw of 10.06m.
“This year the throwing program is the largest it has been since I started out,” said Kerkman, “Its really thanks to the recruiting and coaching skills of the head coach Jason Fast and the throws coach Jake Gabrilska, both who have done an excellent job.” Back on the track, sophomore Mike Mangian won the 800m run with his time of 2:00.92. Despite the victory, Mangian still wanted more: “I am not satisfied with my race because I know I can still do better — I can always improve something about my races and this no exception.”
Mangian, along with sophomore Dan Thoresen and senior Tom Coben, are going to factor into the team scoring quite a bit this weekend at the conference meet and are crucial to a quality team performance: “My goal is to score as many points as I can for the team,” noted Mangian. “We want to move up in conference and if I can help that would be fantastic.”
Both freshman Anna Bolgrien and junior Rose Tepper continued their dominant years with victories in the 400m hurdles and high jump respectively. Bolgrien had a new personal best, running 1:06.63, and Tepper jumped to a respectable 4’11”.
Both women are looking to factor strongly into the scoring for the women’s team. The team travels to St. Norbert for the two-day conference meet this weekend, May 11-12, and they hope to continue their recent run of success.