Track & field hopes to overcome challenges as season begins

The Lawrence University (Vikings) Track and Field team begins its indoor season this winter and, along with stiff competition, faces the unique challenges that the indoor track and field brings. One such challenge is that meets take place at smaller, 200-meter indoor tracks as opposed to the 400-meter tracks during the outdoor season. The smaller track size for runners means more acute turns, more crowded races and the mental obstacle of running more laps to reach the same distance.

Jumpers and throwers also must compete in more cramped and noisy conditions, which requires greater focus and concentration. Competing indoors also causes more wear and tear on the body, a fact that Viking athletes are well aware of. “The most important goal during indoors is staying healthy,” said senior Bjorn Gowdy-Jaehnig. “Everybody seems to end up having some issue.”

Despite its challenges, indoor track has its advantages for peak performance. For example, weather is simply not a factor in indoor meets. Without the influence of wind, rain or the cold, track and field athletes have the potential to achieve great results.

The Lawrence team is looking to make great strides this winter with lots of talent in a variety of events. Coming off of a very successful cross-country season, Lawrence’s strong distance runners should finish consistently at the top. Look for the duo of veteran junior runner Max Edwards and the young freshman Josh Janusiak to make a statement this year. Senior Clare Bruning, hot after her fourth consecutive all-conference cross-country season, will also seek to put an exclamation point on her Lawrence career.

There is much to anticipate for the sprint events as well. This winter, the team welcomes back the conference champion hurdler senior JP Ranumas, who did not compete last season, as an invaluable addition.

Overall, however, both men and women sprinters will miss the leadership from the veteran runners who graduated last year. This is especially true as Lawrence women’s sprints team currently only has three members. Recent coaching turnover will also certainly be a factor in training, and an opportunity for the new team members to step up and make an impact on what has been a traditionally struggling sprint program.

There are plenty of challenges in the field events as well. Look for younger athletes to fill some big shoes in the throwing and jumping events and to help lead the team to success in a tough conference. The Vikings face their first test this Friday, Jan. 15 in a triangular meet against University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and Ripon College. Lawrence athletes will have their work cut out for them as Oshkosh is one of the stronger programs in the Midwest. However, they will be able to predict standing in the conference based on the results against a very beatable Ripon team.