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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Track teams host Dick Young Invitational, first-years shine in distance events and mixed-gender relays steal the show

Brad Geiman ’21 jumps feet first into the long jump pit on Saturday. Contributed photo.
Brad Geiman ’21 jumps feet first into the long jump pit on Saturday. Contributed photo.

Last weekend, Grinnell hosted the Dick Young Invitational at the Darren Young track and field complex. The event, named after a former Pioneer men’s track coach in the late ’50s and early ’60s, has been Grinnell’s only annual outdoor competition since 1999. This year, Grinnell hosted six teams from Iowa and four from Minnesota.

Despite not finishing with the most points, the Pioneers still put up impressive individual numbers on both the men’s and women’s side, especially from the freshman class.

Finishing fifth in the overall team results, the men’s team produced big performances in middle distance events. Rookie Declan O’Reilly ’21 finished second in the 800-meter race at 2:02.25, followed by Joel Baumann ’18 and Kevin Anderson ’18.

O’Reilly admitted that he wouldn’t have been surprised had he dropped out of the event that day due to a cold he caught just hours before the event.

“I woke up that morning and didn’t think that I’d be able to run because I had a really bad cough,” he said. “By the time the meet came around, I was feeling better so I thought I’d give it a run. I thought I’d end up giving out at 600 in, but I was actually in the lead at 600 in.”

In the 1500 meter run, Matt Lieberman ’21 finished second in 4:11.09. Being so far along in his training progression this season, Lieberman came to see his hard work come into fruition.

“I ran pretty well compared to my other races this year. Coach had me take an easier week so I felt pretty good and was able to run better than I had previously,” Lieberman said.

On the women’s side, the 1500 also resulted in personal bests. Mikayla Fujiwara ’20 came in second place at 4:54.37, just besting her teammates Allison Cottrell ’21 and Emma Zimmerman ’18. That performance now places Fujiwara tenth in program history, and it is also her personal record.

Like O’Reilley, Fujiwara came in the race without many expectations. The sophomore sprained her ankle two weeks ago and didn’t think she could make it in time to run at the Invitational. When she was finally given the green light by her coaches, Fujiwara stayed collected with a simple strategy.

“I honestly wasn’t expecting much. My strategy was just to hold on with everybody else and see how things go. I think [I did well] because I’m naturally just a little better at shorter events,” Fujiwara said.

What is more impressive is that it was the first time she had done a 1500-event. Evelyn Freeman, head women’s track and field coach, described Fujiwara as a very “versatile” athlete. She also placed second in the 5000 meter run at the indoor conference meet and is going to run her first 3000 steeplechase this weekend.

Finally, continuing her series of record-breaking performances, Agne Lukoseviciute ’21 took third in the hammer with a toss of 141-8 and sixth in the shot put at 33-1 ¼. Her record, as of now, is second in program history. With that performance, Lukoseviciute is currently the number one thrower in the conference, and it seems only a matter of time before she breaks the school record. Her progress in the hammer this season has been phenomenal, considering she’s only picked it up a couple of months ago.

“The Emory Classic was a nice [start] to getting a feel of the hammer throw and having a mark to build upon. [Assistant] Coach Pederson has been very helpful in the past couple of weeks to make this happen. And as a result, we saw the big personal record on Saturday,” Lukoseviciute wrote in an email to The S&B.

Because both teams have been traveling a lot lately to make up for schedule changes, they reveled in getting to compete in their comfort zone and in front of a supportive community. Now, they are eyeing the conference meet.

“The end goal is always the conference. It is definitely the icing on the cake,” Freeman said.

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