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The Scarlet & Black

Track and Field begin outdoor season

Zev Braun ’15 throws a javalin in practice this week. Photo by Aaron Juarez
Zev Braun '15 throws a javalin in practice this week. Photo by Aaron Juarez
Zev Braun ’15 throws a javalin in practice this week. Photo by Aaron Juarez

This past weekend was an exciting transition for the majority of athletes on both the men’s and women’s track and field teams. With the indoor half of the season finished, the Pioneers finally moved their competition outdoors, exposing themselves to the thrills as well as the vulnerabilities of being in the open-air setting.

Both teams transitioned smoothly to the change at the Cornell College Invitational, with the women placing third out of seven teams and the men placing fifth out of six.

“I was very happy with our start,” wrote head men’s coach Will Freeman in an email to The S&B. “We were able to run a lot of folks at Cornell, and I thought it was a solid opener for most.”

A number of women displayed exceptional performances at the meet. Eloise Miller ’15 carried the team by placing first in the 400-meter and second in the 200-meter race.

“It was my first 400 outdoors, so your times are just always faster when you go outdoors,” Miller said. “Sarah [Jensen ’15] was also in my heat and it’s always nice to run with a teammate because it makes it feel a bit more like practice. Just getting out strong during those first 50 meters and carrying out the momentum for the rest of the race was important.”

For the men, Zev Braun ’15 and Nate Kolacia ’16 stood out, each respectively earning honors in their events. Kolacia ran his fastest winning race, finishing the 800-meter run in 1:56.88, while Braun’s 163-0 personal record for javelin earned him a Midwest Conference Field Performer of the Week title and the seventh best javelin record in Grinnell history.

“It was a good chance for everybody to run outdoors. And it turned out to have a lot of good performances and I was fortunately one of those people,” Kolacia said.

Although Freeman knows it is still early in the season, he was pleased with his players’ performances.

“We can’t read too much into a first meet,” he wrote. “We have a long way to go, but this meet did show us that we have some real talent in the program this season.”

Freeman was quick to mention a handful of his star athletes who contributed alongside Miller, Braun and Kolacia, including Sarah Jensen ’15, Becca Carpenter ’15, Nora Bresette Buccino ’16 and Stewart Bass ’18. Freeman expects improvements from not just these Pioneers, but from all the team.

“[The season] is early for everyone,” Freeman wrote. “Athletes are getting fit … They will improve a lot over the next six weeks to Conference.”

Looking ahead, the team is excited to nurture their practice in the big outdoor fields at the Jim Duncan Invite in Des Moines this weekend.

“We’re going to a bigger meet in [Jim Duncan], which is really exciting,” Miller said. “We won’t be placing quite as well but I think everyone’s going to be running faster times because we’re running with better competition so that always pushes you. … The track is a lot nicer than the ones we’re usually at, so you’re really encouraged to run your best race with all the elements there to help you.”

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