Track season starts with room for improvement

The men’s and women’s track and field teams competed last Saturday at the Warrior Invitational at Wisconsin Lutheran in Milwaukee in their first outdoor meet of the season. The men’s team took fifth out of seven teams, while the women’s team placed fourth out of eight.

This past Saturday, the teams saw a beautiful day of sunshine and warm weather, a stark contrast to the conditions the team trained in this winter. The Lawrence runners, throwers and jumpers were ready to start the outdoor season on a high note. “We saw this meet as a starting point,” said senior runner Anna Bolgrien. “Our aim was to compete well and to set the tone for the rest of the season,” she said.

Lawrence runners had their first chance of the year to compete in the steeplechase, a notoriously difficult event unique to the outdoor season. The steeplechase is a three kilometer race that involves hurdling barriers and jumping over a water pit. Freshman Erin Schrobilgen earned a victory in her steeple debut with a time of 12:30. This was her first time competing in the event.

Junior Cameron Davies also ran the steeple in a time of 10:02, followed closely by junior Jordan Atkins at 10:06, good enough for second and third place. This was also Atkins’ first time running the steeplechase, respectively. With warmer training conditions, expect these athletes to make improvements and to become conference title contenders in this physically demanding event.

Lawrence throwers also competed in the javelin throw, another event only held outdoors. Freshman Cole Erickson made his first appearance in the event with a third place throw of 39.42 meters. Senior Kassidy Rinehart also placed well for the Vikings with a toss of 22.73 meters to take fourth place.

Rounding out the new outdoor events is the discus throw, an event that has been creatively described as the “frolf of track and field.” Top finishers for Lawrence in the discus included junior Genna Matt with a throw of 21.86 meters, giving her an eighth place finish, and sophomore Raleigh Heath with a toss of 31.95 meters, allowing him to finish ninth.

Other highlights from both the men’s and women’s sides include freshman Ethan Gniot and sophomore Kate Kilgus, both of whom took second in the 800-meter race, respectively. Matt also took second in the hammer throw with a throw of 37.1 meters.

“We’re happy with how we did, but we still have a lot work to do to be ready for Conference,” Bolgrien said.

The track and field team will compete this Saturday at the St. Norbert Invitational. This meet will be the first real test to see how the Vikings stack up against other Midwest Conference teams.