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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Women’s Track and Field impress at home meet

Paige Olowu ’22 competing at the Darren Young Classic.

By Lily Seibert
seibertl@grinnell.edu

The women’s track and field team had another impressive showing last weekend at the Darren Young Classic meet, during which multiple athletes scored personal bests and carved their way into the school record books. Several underclassmen led the charge for the Pioneers, with Paige Olowu ’22, Madeline McCabe ’22, Rebecca Villa ’21, Tali Tesar ’22 and Emma Schaefer ’22 all claiming top spots in their events. Francesca Dalla Betta ’22 and Agne Lukoseviciute ’21 each broke school records for the 60-meter race and weight throw, respectively. As a whole, the team had its best finish in the Darren Young Classic since 2015.

“I’ve been intentional about my practices,” said Lukoseviciute, who broke her own record for the fourth time this season. “Before every practice, kind of having at least one thing to focus on helps, so I don’t waste the practice time.”

Despite track and field garnering the reputation of being an individual sport, several of the athletes credit their achievements to the support of their teammates during training and competing. Dalla Betta, who also participated in the record-breaking 4×200 relay team with Lynn Nguyen ’20, Jordan Maddaus ’19 and Olowu, appreciates the balance between taking accountability for her own performance and relying on others to succeed.

“I love open events because you get your time and it’s fun to kind of try to get your time down, but I think relays are the funnest thing in track because you do have the team element of it,” said Dalla Betta. “So it’s a lot of fun to have, in a generally more individual sport, the team aspect of psyching each other up before a race and practicing together and stuff like that.”

In addition to encouragement between team members, both Lukoseviciute and Dalla Betta emphasized the importance of remaining mentally strong in a challenging sport such as track and field. For some athletes, achieving the right headspace means taking time alone before races to listen to music, while others gain confidence by reflecting on their performances and bouncing back from failure.

“Last week, Thursday was just a bad practice. On those kinds of days if you approach it in a negative way, it can really break you down,” Lukoseviciute said. “And it’s not going to be good on meet day if you beat yourself up about it. But if you kind of try and learn from it instead, and just clear your mind, then usually I can find something to fix it.”

Dalla Betta stressed that having fun and staying relaxed are some of the primary ways in which she finds success on the track. In between warming up and listening to music with the team before races, she always makes time to energize herself for a strong performance.

“My number one thing I always have to do is a power pose,” Dalla Betta said. “A little bit before my race, I’ve been moving a lot, warming up, dancing around, and then I stop, pause, do a power pose for, like, five seconds. Then I’m ready to go.”

The Pioneers hope to build on their recent success in the Wartburg Invitational on Saturday, Feb. 16, as well as the conference meet the following week.

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