1. What has been your favorite sports related moment since coming to LU?This one is a tie: Last year, our Distance Medley Relay took second in indoor conference– it was four guys who gave up individual goals in order to allow this relay to succeed. They trained really hard (running outdoors all winter on a shoveled track), so it was great to see them earn medals.
And the second one, at outdoor conference, our women took first, fifth and sixth in triple jump. It was a group of women who worked so well together and were committed to helping one another succeed. Honestly, I don’t think they cared about the order of their finish, as long as it was 1-5-6 = 17 points.
So many people see track & field as an individual sport, but the greatest moments are the ones that underscore we are a team.
2. What are your thoughts on the upcoming indoor and outdoor track seasons?
We are looking forward to competing well. One of the challenges in track & field is getting people to understand there is no “indoor” season and “outdoor” season, but rather one season and some of the meets are indoors and some of the meets are outdoors. How lucky are we that we get two conference meets? The athletes who have been with us from day one are laying a great foundation now and will be able to compete with their conference competition in the long haul, because trust me, we have seen Beloit, Carroll, Ripon, and St. Norbert — they all came back in shape and their athletes are competing at a high level right now.
3. How is the freshman class? Any new up-and-coming talent?
We have a lot of talent in our freshman class, but even more exciting is the sense of commitment they have. Our freshmen were very visible in the voluntary training that bridged fall sports and winter break. This type of dedication is critical to compete well in the Midwest Conference.
4. Who are the Captains this year, and what kind of role have they played?
We are very fortunate in our captains, Laurel Benson, Ali Blegen, Russell Geisthardt, and Mike Pierquet. I give a lot of decision-making responsibility to the captains, and they take their roles very seriously. They spend a lot of time thinking of ways to help our team. You probably couldn’t ask for a stronger group of students, either, and I don’t think that is a coincidence. Leadership on our team is not limited to captains, and there have been a number of other athletes who have stepped into leadership roles.
5. How do you feel the cross country season went?
It was a very exciting season for the cross country team — 24 of our 32 runners were running collegiate cross country for the first time! The energy and enthusiasm was contagious, not to mention the team chemistry they developed. We will miss our seniors terribly, but we have so many young runners to carry the program forward and I think there is a renewed sense of commitment to cross country at Lawrence. I suspect they will put in a strong summer of training for this next season.
6. Do you have any specific goals for the team this year, or for the track and cross country programs in the coming years?
We are looking to build programs that consistently finish in the top half of the conference in track & field, and in cross country, we can be at or near the top every year. That is very possible and we are off to a great start. Additionally, we want to continue recruiting athletes who not only are students first, but also will contribute to the life of the campus community in general. For example, this year we represent the conservatory, two fraternities, two sororities, Mortar Board, Pep Band, LCF, The Lawrentian, WLFM, and the Student Wellness Committee, just to name a few. Of course a long-term goal would be to beat Grinnell (my alma mater) in cross country!
7. How is the recruiting coming along?
We have a wonderful staff of student callers who connect well with the prospective students and communicate their enthusiasm for Lawrence and our programs. Once prospective students come onto campus and meet the team, Lawrence usually rises to the top of their list. We have a great pool of possibilities out there, but in the end, our success is in the hands of 17- and 18-year old students making the biggest choice of their lives!