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First-years stand out in track & field meet at Emory

Over spring break, the men’s and women’s track and field teams spent a week training and competing in Florida and Georgia, with a goal to get as many training sessions in as possible. At the end of the week, they traveled to Atlanta to compete in the Emory Classic at Emory University. After spending a week doing grueling workouts in the heat, their performances exceeded expectations.

“We really enjoyed competing in warm weather because it’s been a little challenging here [at Grinnell]. We were able to work on specific outdoor events that we don’t do. That being said, having gone through a week of pretty hard training we don’t go to the meet expecting to perform at our best, but we had some pretty good results here and there at the end,” said head women’s track and field coach Evelyn Freeman.

Different from typical track and field meets, the Emory Classic has a wider range of competitors, most of whom the Pioneers have never heard of or competed against before. The event consists of community colleges in the nearby area, along with Division II and III programs, as well as any other schools that happened to be around at the time. With such diverse levels of competition, both the men’s and women’s team managed to produce outstanding performances, especially from first-years Lucas Chamberland and Agne Lukoseviciute.

On the opening Friday of Emory Classic, Chamberland placed second in the 10,000-meter run, clocking a 34:26.01, and it was the first time he’d ever run a 10k. He sees such a successful event this early in his student-athlete career as a confirmation of his ability and a personal motivation for future improvements, especially for the upcoming outdoor championships.

“As it was my first 10k ever, I was quite satisfied with my time. It’s always great to be able to get points for the team. I wanted to run under 35 minutes, and I achieved that. I’m looking to improve more for the Midwest Conference meet though,” Chamberland wrote in an email to The S&B.

“10k is not something that you run frequently during the season because it’s pretty long. So to get one in great weather conditions was a nice advantage for him. [Overall], we were pretty happy with the results and I think he was pretty happy too,” Freeman added.

On the women’s team, on Friday, Agne Lukoseviciute finished 14th in the hammer toss event with a toss of 119-10, which is fourth-best in school history. In a similar vein to Chamberland’s success, this was the first hammer throw competition for Lukoseviciute.

Then, on Saturday, she outdid herself by placing seventh in discus toss with a personal record best of 126-1. This put her third in the event in school history and was the best performance the Pioneers have seen for more than a decade. Even Freeman, who knows about Lukoseviciute’s prowess in the discus, was surprised at by the success.

“We knew she was talented, and discus had always been her strong suit in high school, but we didn’t expect her to perform this well this early in the season. She did a fabulous job,” Freeman said.

Lukoseviciute, on the other hand, keeps herself to a humble tone when speaking about her accomplishments. “I’m happy about it, and my coach is especially excited at the hammer toss. Coming to the event, I was just hoping to improve on my high school records in discus and try my best at the hammer,” she said.

Looking past the feat last weekend, both first-years know they have more room to improve in order to be in the best shape possible for the remainder of the season. Chamberland has had his eye set on beating the 33:30 mark in the 10k, while Lukoseviciute is aiming to extend her discus to 40 meters. With the two talents as spearheads for the freshman class, Freeman is very optimistic about their future.

“We’re delighted when people start out their first season of competition on a fairly high note. It just makes us all feel like there’s even greater potential for improvement. … We hope [they get] better and better [with] the more opportunities they have.”

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