Hot weather means hot starts for the track and field team

Track and field’s spring season has arrived this April. The weather is warmer for our track team to participate in the upcoming outdoor tournaments. The team has just come back from a successful Midwest indoor conference and now they are preparing for the Private College Championships on April 8 and Wisconsin Lutheran Invitational on April 22. Following the interview of Junior Teddy Kortenhof, let’s see what our Track and Field team has achieved this year and the team’s plan for the future season ahead.

Victor Nguyen: Hi Teddy. Both Lawrence men and women finished eighth place at the Midwest Conference (MWC) indoor conference last March. As a veteran on the team, what do you think about this result?

Teddy Kortenhof: The team was really happy with how the indoor conference went. We had some really strong performances which was really fun to see.

VN: What about the individual performances for the men’s and women’s teams?

TK: For our men’s team, our distance star sophomore Josh Janusiak won the men’s 5000m, which was really big. It is cool to see Josh keep blossoming as a strong athlete for the team. He also finished fourth in the 3000m as well, which was great. And then freshman Noah Shea did very well, especially for a freshman. Compared with Noah, we have freshman Will Nichols who is a good jumper and a strong sprinter. Will successfully set up the Vikings’ record of 200m. He actually broke both the indoor and outdoor record in one indoor race. But the record did not count for the outdoor track. So, this outdoor season, he hopes to take a swing into the record too. Now, the weather is warmer and the track is bigger so we can run faster in the outdoor track. On the women’s side, junior Hannah Kinzer came out of nowhere and took third in the women 5000m. Senior Kate Kilgus placed third in the distance medley team and only one second less than the Vikings’ mile record. The women’s sprint Medley relay team did really well as well, placing third in the conference.

VN: One of the Vikings’ freshmen, Noah Shea, has finished a wonderful performance and was awarded the Newcomer of the Year. What do you think about this award?

TK: Noah Shea won the league’s Newcomer of the Year Award and was the only freshman to win an individual title at the conference championships. This was a new thing in the conference this year: they gave the award to the top ranking freshman student in the conference and Noah deserved that. He had some successful performances, especially the triple jump record. One interesting fact is that in track and field, when they started giving the Newcomer Award, they give it to freshman Joe Kortenhof who was also running for Lawrence. This award was given twice, and both times were for the Vikings.

VN: Other freshmen are having some really good performances in the conference too! Is it a sign that the track program is getting bigger and stronger this year?

TK: Yes, it is! The Cross Country program is getting stronger and the Track and Field program is getting stronger too, so we are excited for the future.

VN: What do you think about the current team’s strong points and weaknesses? Is there any way to eliminate these weaknesses before the upcoming tournament?

TK: First of all, we are a small team, only about 30-35 people – which is a small size for a track team. We continue to have some outstanding performers but without a large team it is hard to score high in the conference. One person can run faster but he can keep up with everything and soon be exhausted. This year we are growing bigger. There are a couple new throwers, a couple new sprinters and a couple new distance runners. We had a couple people who were on the swim team in the winter join the team this spring, so our roster is much stronger than the last season.

VN: With this beautiful weather, is there anything new to the team’s practice?

TK: Foremost, now it is warm out. It is a lot easier to practice. A lot of the teams we compete with have indoor tracks which we don’t have here. So, in the winter, we had to run outside, which was cold and wet. We had to cancel many workouts, and in general, that is not good. But now it is warm out so we can practice with the outdoor track any time we want, which is really big. For example, the pole vaulting team used to have to go to Green Bay to practice two nights a week, but now they can practice every day because everything was finally set up.

VN: How do you guys plan for the upcoming season? What is the team’s goal for it?

TK: As a team we want to continue what we have started in the indoor season. We also want to place higher in the upcoming outdoor conference than the indoor. The most important thing that we want to keep is strong individual performance. So we are hoping for people to come out of nowhere like Hannah did to get in the race and really run away with it! We also have a couple of good ones who will come back to the track. We are hoping to see some cool stuff from them in the next few weeks.

VN: Thank you for the interview! Good luck to the team in the upcoming tournament!