Frodl and Popoca take first at Red Hawk Invitational 

On Saturday, Feb. 3, two of Lawrence’s distance runners raced to first place in the women’s 5K and men’s 5K at the Red Hawk Invitational hosted by Ripon College. Junior Edythmae Frodl finished with a time of 18:43.80, while fellow junior Thomas Popoca ran a 15:57.78. 

Of her win, Frodl said, “A win is exciting! Especially an early one. This is one of the first seasons where I am healthy enough to push myself to reach some lofty goals, and doing well this week has let me entertain the reality of those goals. I want to use it as motivation for me to keep up the good work and stay focused.” 

Popoca likewise described the win—early on in the indoor track season—as motivational. “I feel like all my effort in practice has been showing at the meets, with getting new [personal records] and moving up in the conference ranking,” he said. “Winning the 5K race this week gave me confidence and more of an optimistic outlook for the rest of the season, knowing that I can perform at a high level to help the team and become a better runner.” 

Thomas Popoca ran a 15:57.78. Photo provided by Lawrence University Athletics Department.

He also added, “Throughout the whole week I kept telling myself, ‘We’re going to break 16 minutes this week.’ Iit helped my mindset during the race—I felt calm and confident knowing that my goal will be achieved.” 

Both Frodl and Popoca also led the women’s and men’s teams to sweeps of the top three spots of both of their races: after Frodl in the women’s 5K, junior Riley Winebrenner and senior Rain Orsi took second and third place respectively; meanwhile, Popoca led the pack, followed by juniors Sam Brewer (second) and Owen West (third), in the men’s 5K. 

“I am so proud of where we’re at! I see my teammates’ hard work and focus during practice, and it is incredibly validating to see it paying off in competition,” said Frodl of the team’s distance runners’ success. 

“I think the success of the men and women’s 5K will be a good stepping-stone for the rest of the season as well. As a team that naturally peaks towards the end of the season, I know we have a lot to look forward to in the next couple of weeks,” she continued. 

At the meet, Lawrence’s men’s team placed third with 53 points, while the women’s team was fifth with 61 points.  

Other successful performances by Lawrence runners at the invitational included senior Lilia Bodnar’s third-place finish in the women’s 400 meters, and first-year Kala Velasco’s fourth-place finish in the men’s 60-meter hurdles. 

“I am excited to cheer [my teammates] on and see where we can go as a team for the rest of the season,” said Frodl. 

The Lawrence track team’s next meet will be the Dick Hendricks Invitational on Saturday, Feb. 10, also hosted by Ripon.