The indoor track and field team here at Lawrence University wasted very little time upon returning to campus before they were hard at work running, jumping, throwing and preparing for the first competitive meet tomorrow at UW-Oshkosh. Practices began in the bitter cold on the first day of class.
In a word, head coach Jason Fast says he is “optimistic” about this season. “We graduated so few seniors last year compared to other conference teams,” remarked Fast, “which means that our team has younger talent that have still had big-meet experience.” And big meets there will be. Lawrence will be competing at the Eastbay Invitational this year on Saturday, Feb. 22. This meet often attracts many Midwest Conference teams, such as Ripon College, Beloit College, St. Norbert and Carroll University. Thus, it will be a sneak-preview for the MWC Championships at Cornell College on Feb. 28 and March 1.
For the sprinting and jumping teams, this year could show a marked improvement over last year’s team, specifically because the team only graduated one senior jumper and sprinter last year. With more experience under their belts, the team is looking to build on some of the successes from last year and use some exciting new talents in the freshman class in order to be highly competitive.
From the throwing team, expect more record-breaking. Last year’s team set new records in almost all of the women’s throwing events thanks to the addition of then-freshman, now sophomore, Genna Matt, who will play a pivotal role again this year. On the men’s side, junior Spencer Swick had great success at the end of last year’s outdoor season in the discus and is aiming to translate some of that energy into the indoor events of the weight throw and the shot put.
The typically strong distance program has a lot of positive energy behind them again this year, as the men’s and women’s teams bring in seven total all-MWC runners from last cross country season’s MWC championships. There, the men’s team took second and the women’s team captured third. Watch for Lawrence to exploit its depth and be highly competitive in the relays in addition to the individual events.
Noting how the Vikings could make a major push, Coach Fast stated, “We didn’t lose as many seniors as some of the top-tier teams in our conference did.” The excitement was apparent: “We’ll be aiming to be in that top five or six of our Conference this year.”