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Track and field impress at Conference

Runners Vedika Haralalka ’18 and Yufei Wang ’18 working out their cores at practice this week. Photo by Sno Zhao

Sam Curry

Runners Vedika Haralalka ’18 and Yufei Wang ’18 working out their cores at practice this week.  Photo by Sno Zhao
Runners Vedika Haralalka ’18 and Yufei Wang ’18 working out their cores at practice this week.
Photo by Sno Zhao

The men’s and women’s track and field teams posted solid performances at the Midwest Conference Championships finals last weekend to set them up for their upcoming outdoor season. The men’s team finished third in the team standings in their meet in Galesburg, Ill., while the women’s team placed eight in the standings in their performance in Mount Vernon, Iowa. The results were especially encouraging because a number of runners reached or surpassed their personal bests in their events.

“We had 22 [personal records] and a bunch of seasonal bests and entries into the top 10 all -time list, which was really exciting,” said Shannon Young ’17.

The results were also encouraging because of Grinnell’s long winter break, which gave the teams a comparative lack of training for the indoor season putting them at disadvantage relative to other teams in the Conference who may have three indoor meets before Grinnell even had one. The team, therefore, is focused on hitting their peak in the outdoor season and using the indoor season as preparation.

“We clearly focus on peaking at the outdoor championships,” wrote women’s head coach Evelyn Freeman in an email to the S&B.                  

The results were also exciting on a personal level for Young, as she had been battling through injuries to be able to compete again.

“I was also really happy. I’m coming off of a fracture in my femur … so it was really exciting to be able to run again,” Young said.

One of the top performances for the men meet came from Adam “Salty” Dalton ’16 who easily raced to victory in the 5000-meter run. Dalton finished 20 seconds ahead of the second place finisher, while Anthony McLean ’17 came in fifth place.

Although the beginning of the race provided some early question marks, the end result was never in doubt.

“The 5k started out with some guy running a really fast lap and I was like, ‘What are you doing?’ and then he slowed down a lot,” Dalton said. “There was a big section of the race I couldn’t see anybody ahead of me or behind me so I was essentially running on my own for 25 laps on an indoor track.”

In fact, the lack of competition may have hindered Dalton’s time.

“My coach said I ran a couple of really slow laps, not because I was tired, just because I couldn’t judge how fast I was because nobody was around me,” Dalton said.

Dalton attributes his remarkable results to his attitude, which has become considerably more relaxed during his college career.

“I used to be a lot more nervous but now I come in with a more nonchalant, whatever happens, happens attitude, which helped me out a lot,” Dalton said.

Grinnell will soon be the center of the Division III track and field world, as the Bear will host the Division III National Track and Field Championships next week. According to Freeman, this experience will help Grinnell’s teams improve and prepare for the season ahead.

“[The Championship] puts Grinnell on sports pages around the country. That’s good for both the college and the track program!” Freeman wrote.

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