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The Scarlet & Black

Women’s Track and Field breaks numerous school records

Women%E2%80%99s+4x100m+relay+team+Paige+Olowu+%E2%80%9822%2C+Madeline+McCabe+%E2%80%9822%2C+Francesca+Dalla+Betta+%E2%80%9822+and+Jordan+Maddaus+%E2%80%9819%2C+set+a+new+school+record.+
Women’s 4x100m relay team Paige Olowu ‘22, Madeline McCabe ‘22, Francesca Dalla Betta ‘22 and Jordan Maddaus ‘19, set a new school record.
Women’s 4x100m relay team Paige Olowu ‘22, Madeline McCabe ‘22, Francesca Dalla Betta ‘22 and Jordan Maddaus ‘19, set a new school record.

By Candace Mettle
mettleca@grinnell.edu

The outdoor track & field season started off with the Pioneers shattering a number of school records, one of which stood for almost 20 years.

Francesca Dalla Betta ‘22, Jordan Maddaus ‘19, Madeline McCabe ‘22 and Paige Olowu ‘22 represented the Pioneer women at the Emory Classic and placed 12th in the 4×100 relay, with a time of 50.44 seconds. They beat the Pioneer record of 51.13 set by Melanie Shattler, Idelle Cooper, Maria Stanislaw and Amy Walters in 2001.

Maddaus, McCabe and Olowu attributed the success to their camaraderie as a relay team and being members of the women’s track and field team. Their coaches organized the relay team, and the four ran the event together for the very first time at the meet in Atlanta. What’s even more impressive is that, for outdoor track, three of the four relay members, Dalla Betta, McCabe and Olowu, all made their college career debuts at the Emory Classic.

“I don’t even think we knew what the record was before,” said Olowu. McCabe added, “We were just trying to hand the baton to each other.”

Traditionally, the track team goes to Florida during spring break to bond and train before the official start to the outdoor season. The four had roomed together, spending lots of time with each other before competing.

“[The Emory Classic] was a great way to start the season because I’ve always wanted to break a record, but figured it probably wasn’t going to happen,” said Maddaus. “To have my three teammates as first years, it also makes me excited for their futures and it’s just a good feeling to know that … the team will be fine without me.”

McCabe was quick to acknowledge the role seniors such as Maddaus have had on their new teammates. “You’re leaving your legacy!” McCabe said.

Maddaus has represented the Pioneer women since her first year, and each year she has completed, she said, has brought some difficulties. For her first year she fell ill, and the next two she had to deal with injuries that prevented her from competing to her full capacity. However, the 2019 season seems different for Maddaus, as the first years have shown strong promise to challenge in every race this year.

McCabe and Olowu aim to get faster and stronger while broadening their expertise in other track and field events for the rest of the season. At the Emory Classic, Olowu had also made the second best triple jump score among Pioneer athletes, with a jump of 39-9½. She placed third within the event.

McCabe, who also competes in long jump and the 100-meter spring in addition to the relay, will work on improving her block starts. She originally was a gymnast and when applying to colleges intended to continue her gymnastic career; track was a subsidiary sporting event. However, she said she’s more than happy to be part of the College’s team.

“Physically, [gymnastics and track and field] they are both power sports but also both are a little more centered around personal improvement. I like track because there’s also a team aspect to it. It’s more fun to compete as a team than individually.”

For Olowu, a considerable difference between high school and college has been the level of commitment by the athletes to the sport. She has taken the opportunity to try and excel in more events, considering that in high school she had only done short-distance running. “With jumping, there’s a lot more I have to think about when balancing techniques for different events and events I know how to do.”

Olowu also did not expect to do track and field, but knew that as a college student she wanted to play a sport. “I have noticed that people are more dedicated and passionate about the sport. In high school, lots of people did track for a PE requirement or something similar, and here people chose it because they enjoy running and they enjoy the team. People are more interested in their own self-improvement and the sport—it’s a welcomed change.”

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