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Track and field impress at Darren Young Classic

Emma Luhmann ’18 finished seventh in the 3000-meter run at Darren Young Classic last weekend. Photo by Sno Zhao

Sam Curry

Emma Luhmann ’18 finished seventh in the 3000-meter run at Darren Young Classic last weekend.  Photo by Sno Zhao
Emma Luhmann ’18 finished seventh in the 3000-meter run at Darren Young Classic last weekend.
Photo by Sno Zhao

The Grinnell men’s and women’s track and field teams posted solid results at the 6th Annual Darren Young Track and Field Classic last Saturday, setting the stage for the upcoming Conference finals.

The women’s team finished ninth with 14 points, while the men’s team finished 10th with five points. The distance medley events stood out as particularly strong performances for both the men’s and women’s teams. Women’s squad of Anna Ahrens and Jordan Maddaus, both ’19, Whitney Teagle ’18 and Shannon Young ’17 was the runner up, finishing with a time of 13:18.86, while the men’s crew, composed of Nate Crail ’19, Kevin Anderson and Joel Baumann, both ’18 and Nate Kolacia ’16, finished fourth with a time of 11:07.15.

Ahrens singled out the medley performance as a highlight of the meet, especially given the expectations that the college had going against high caliber schools.

“We did better than we were seeded and we … were more strategic than other races … [The medley] seems like it would be the same as another race … but it’s hard to know how to run it exactly,” Ahrens said.

Although the teams might have hoped for better than ninth and tenth place finishes, the specific dynamics of the meet, such as the timing of the meet and quality of competition made it great preparation for Conference finals. 

“It wasn’t ideal on paper but a lot of the schools we competed against were outside of our Conference, … so it was some pretty good competition,” Baumann said.

The timing of the Darren Young Classic was such that Grinnell’s runners started to hit their best times of the season. Both runners and coaches pointed out that peaking in anticipation of the Conference finals might be more important than defeating other teams at the Classic.

“We have some of the best teams of the Midwest coming to this meet, so competition is pretty darn fierce … so as far as how the meet went, the meet went great. The intent of the meet was fulfilled [and] we had a number of meet records broken,” said women’s head coach Evelyn Freeman.

Even though they are still hitting their physical peak, at this point in the season the team is pretty set in their exercise routines and performances. They have to be confident in their physical abilities and the most important preparations they now have for the Conference finals are mental.

“It’s really just mental preparation because you are not going to see drastic improvement between now [and then], … so it’s just believing you’re physically capable of doing what you have to do,” Baumann said.

Coaches agreed that early meets, such as the Darren Young Classic, are only one step of the preparation process for Conference finals. The track and field teams are hoping for these strong results against top competition to set them up for victory down the line, even with the disadvantage of an abnormally late start to their season due to the extra week of winter break this year.

“The luxury of our sport … is that the early meets are more indicators of training progression and how people are developing, and we’re seeing some really good things happen,” said men’s head coach Will Freeman. “We do feel like when we really do target a meet, like the Conference meet, we’re going to do very well.”

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