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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Track and field impress at Darren Young Classic

Aidan Healey ’17 pushes through the elements to finish his run. Photo by Alberto Vazquez.

Sam Catanzaro, Sports Editor

While students were busy going back over readings and stocking up on sleep in preparation for finals, members of the men’s and women’s track and field teams used the Darren Young Classic last weekend as a tune-up for the athletic equivalent of finals: Conference.

“It was a pretty low key environment. There were only seven teams so it was nice to step back from some of the more high pressure and competitive meets and just have a meet where we could have a more relaxed atmosphere,” said Adam Dalton ’16.

Under Grinnell’s sunny skies, a slew of podium finishes by the likes of Dalton and Anthony McLean ’17 gave the men a solid third place finish amongst a strong field. On the women’s side, a half of a point was all that separated them from event winner Coe College.

“We didn’t quite expect to finish that close to first place so it’s all good. Our goal for the meet was not to win or score mega points,” said women’s head coach Evelyn Freeman. “We’re only concerned about these things when we get to Conference.”

Events like the Darren Young Classic allow the Pioneers to work on small things that could make a difference come Conference three weeks from now. In addition, runners who need better times in certain events can use these events as a chance to get or improve on a seeding.

With this in mind, both the men and women were excited about what their performances last weekend say about their prospects for Conference.

“I’m definitely happy with where we are at and I think in the next couple of weeks we will keep on improving. I am looking forward to seeing where we are at when Conference starts,” Dalton said.

Aidan Healey ’17 pushes through the elements to finish his run. Photo by Alberto Vazquez.
Aidan Healey ’17 pushes through the elements to finish his run. Photo by Alberto Vazquez.

“It’s hard not to get excited looking at the Conference rankings in each event,” said Shannon Young ’17. “We’ve put in a lot of work this year and it is really showing right now.”

For the men and women, the goal for Conference is not to win, but to finish in the top half of the standings. This is because of the presence of nationally ranked teams like Cornell College and Monmouth College in the Conference make the prospect of a first place finish unlikely. In addition to this, many of Grinnell’s distance runners go abroad in the spring in order to be able to compete in the cross country season in the fall.

“We want to finish in the top half and finish with our best performance of the season. That’s really the most important thing,” Freeman said.

This late in the season, the bulk of the men’s and women’s training has been done already and therefore this three-week period leading up to Conference is ideal for runners to hone and perfect small aspects of their running game.

“It’s not like in the next three weeks we can improve upon our fitness a significant amount,” Freeman said. “Right now it’s just about tweaking some technical things, working on race strategy and getting in some finalized good workouts.”

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