This past week, the Lawrence University track and field team participated in two separate meets: the St. Norbert Invitational in De Pere, Wisconsin on Thursday, Apr. 25, and the Gina Relays in Hillsdale, Michigan on Friday, Apr. 26. The St. Norbert Invitational was more focused on the throwing, sprinting and jumping athletes, while the distance runners were sent to compete in the Gina Relays. “We sometimes split as a team to get everyone to the meet that they need,” commented Assistant Coach Lisha Zill. “This could be for a variety of reasons: to qualify for nationals, to better their standing at the conference level or just to have better competition than our normal schedule allows.”
The meet in St. Norbert was a tough meet for Lawrence as they faced constant cold and rain throughout the entire meet. The team still performed well, but all are looking ahead to warmer weather that May will hopefully bring. Freshman Leah Hawksford placed first at the Invitational in the 3000-meter steeple chase with a time of 12:25.06. The women’s 4×400-meter relay team also placed first with a time of 4:27.92. This relay team consisted of junior Mikaela Hintz, sophomores Emily Hoeft and Alyssa Kuss and junior Hallie Sogin. Freshman Natalie LaMonto placed second in the 800-meter run, while Hoeft took third place in the triple jump and senior Brielle Petit placed third in the hammer throw. On the men’s side, freshman Cullen Allard took second place in the 3000-meter steeplechase.
Despite the prior day’s weather, the meet in Hillsdale turned out for the better. By the time the 10,000-meter came around at 10 p.m., the skies were clear and the ground was dry. The weather was only slightly chilly and the wind had settled. Senior Josh Janusiak raced to second in the 10,000-meter with a time of 30:28.80. He is currently the fastest runner in the Midwest Conference and is sitting at 16th in the NCAA Division III rankings. Hopefully in the coming meets, Janusiak will qualify for Nationals and will get to participate in them at the end of the season. Junior Joe Kortenhof took eighth in the same event with a personal record of 31:01.43. Senior Molly Doruska finished 11th in the 10,000-meter on the women’s side and had over a two-minute personal record with a time of 39:49.00. She is the fourth fastest in the Midwest Conference as of right now.
“Since conference is quickly approaching, most of us are trying to run some personal records before we have to focus on place,” began Janusiak, “and this weekend’s home meet will be pretty fun because many of us are trying to run shorter, quicker races so we are ready to compete at a higher level in the upcoming weeks.” The home meet this weekend on Saturday, May 4, will be a relatively small meet, but some of the Conference teams will be there in order to gauge where the Vikings are at in comparison to other teams that are in the Conference. This also gives the Vikings a chance to see some good competition before they head to the big Conference meet. “The Conference meet with be very challenging for our team this year, as the competition has ramped up in our conference,” said Assistant Coach Zill, “but we should have a few exciting races and performances.”
In order to prepare for the Conference meet, the team has to focus on staying healthy and not pushing themselves too far in the sense of injuries. Unfortunately, some things are inevitable. Although the team has faced several injuries and sicknesses in the last few weeks, the Vikings who have been injured or sick are recovering and are gearing up for Conference week. The main goal is to race in Conference with all that they have and leave everything on the track, in the pits or on the runways. Hopefully the weather gets better in this last month of the season and the team can experience a nice spring meet opposed to the leftover winter that Wisconsin and the Northern Midwest seems to be clinging on to.
The last meet that the Vikings will compete in before the Midwest Conference Championships is the Viking Invitational that is hosted on Lawrence’s own home field. The meet will be held on Saturday, May 4, at 10a.m. Since this is the only home Track and Field meet, support from the Lawrence community would be greatly appreciated by all members of the track team.