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Men’s and women’s track ready for indoor conference at Ripon

John Osler ’20, Matt Lieberman ’21 and Jackson Schulte ’20 prepare for this weekend’s indoor track conference in Ripon. Photo by Elena Copell.
John Osler ’20, Matt Lieberman ’21 and Jackson Schulte ’20 prepare for this weekend’s indoor track conference in Ripon. Editor’s Note: Jackson Schulte is the Sports Editor for The S&B. Photo by Elena Copell.

As Grinnell track and field prepares for its indoor conference meet, both athletes and coaches look forward the event with excitement and nerves. Both Will Freeman, men’s track and field coach, and Evelyn Freeman, coach of the women’s team, have high expectations for the distance and sprint medley relays.

Ally Cottrell ’21, who will run the 800-leg of the distance and sprint relays, the 4×400 and the mile for the women’s team, said that she looked forward to the meet, and, considering the number of events she’ll run, anticipated “not dying, hopefully,” and emphasized that she was “excited to run the relays — [they have] more of a team atmosphere.” Evelyn Freeman noted that Cottrell was among few runners participating in so many events, and said Cottrell’s would be races to look out for.

The men’s distance medley relay team promises a competitive race as well, according to Will Freeman. The anchor of the relay, Matt Lieberman ’21, said that this was the event he had most be looking forward to.

“I think we have the chance to get all-conference or even win it. I think that’ll be an exciting race,” he said. 1600 meters, the longest leg of the distance medley relay, is not the longest distance Lieberman will run at conference, however. For his second event, the 5K, Lieberman will lap the 200-meter indoor track 25 times.

Both coaches emphasized the intermediary nature of indoor conference, and situated the meet within the trajectory that will lead the teams to outdoor conference in May.

“I think always the goal is to improve over what they’ve done before … for our distance runners at least, … you can’t have a triple peak. You can have a double peak; cross country and outdoors, [though], so we’re progression training through May,” Will Freeman said. He added that the team had performed impressively so far this season.

“The workouts they have done — absolutely remarkable. I’ve been here a long time, I can take you through a season of ‘hard day’ workouts and compare, and there was just not a bad workout, not [this] indoor season,” he said.

Evelyn Freeman added that the indoor meets serve “as little tests to see how the training’s going. … [H]opefully backing off on the training a little bit, we’ll see some performance bests of the season. We’ve already started seeing those even though we haven’t backed off much. So that’s gratifying to see,” she said. “Our goal is to be unified as a traveling team, support each other, we hope to see seasonal best performances and the information that we gather at the end of the meet will help us plan for the outdoor season.”

For some, however, the meet represents the last of their season. Andrew Shults ’19, who has had a “banner season,” according to Will Freeman, will part with track and field to start his baseball season after indoor conference.

“There are gonna be some nerves, about this being the last meet of the season and the pinnacle of inter-season for pretty much everyone … but I just remind myself that we put in all this work and as long as I leave it all out on the track I have no regrets,” Shults said. For others, such as pole-vaulter Tori LaVerdiere ’20 of the women’s team, indoor conference will be the first of many during the outdoor season.

The conference meet is at Ripon College in Ripon, Wisconsin this Friday and Saturday.

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