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Women’s track dominates at Grand View Viking Classic

Paige Olowu ’22 ran the second-best time in school hisotry with a time of 25.97s in the 200m at the Grand View Viking Classic in Des Moines. Contributed photo
Paige Olowu ’22 ran the second-best time in school history with a time of 25.97s in the 200m at the Grand View Viking Classic in Des Moines. Contributed photo.

By Papa Kojo Ampim-Darko


The Grinnell women’s track team turned in a great performance at the Grand View Viking Classic in Des Moines last Friday, picking up steam as they head into the Midwest Conference tournament next week.

Paige Olowu ’22 ran a competitive 25.97s in the 200m, the second-best time in school history. “In high school and up until [now] I’ve only ever run 27s in my 200s … so [when] I heard it was a 25 I was very, very excited,” shared Olowu. Going into the meet, however, Olowu was focusing more on collaborative events. “It was a week where we focused a lot more on relays… I like that a lot, because I like the team aspect of it, you’re actually working together with other people and [we] encourage [each other] to do our best.”

Emma Schaefer ’22 set a new personal record with a time of 18:38.71s in the 5000m which moves her to third place in the Midwest Conference rankings for the race. “I’ve been loving it so much. It’s such a great team, very supportive coaches. And I feel like I can see my growth as an athlete as well as the rest of my teammates. And that’s really inspiring,” she said. She also shared her excitement about her new PR. “It was fun to look at the time and be like, wow, that was a big chunk off of my PR… I’m really happy with how I ran it.”

Schaefer acknowledged that a combination of factors had contributed to the successes of the season so far. She said, “I think the coaching is really consistent and works with my running style. I feel the little things are making a difference, like stretching after I run and making sure that I’m eating well… it’s so motivating to be on a team with so many dedicated athletes who really love what they’re doing. And I think that just raises all of us up.”

Rebecca Villa ’21 completed the 800m in 2:24.88s, another PR for the day. She felt similarly about the degree of support from her teammates contributing to the team’s success, saying: “I feel like it’s partly our incoming class… they’re really, really high energy [and] they all have a passion for track. I think it really spreads to the rest of the team. I definitely feel a difference [with] people motivating each other and telling each other good job, stuff like that.”

Looking ahead to conference, Villa hopes to build on the team’s performance in the indoor season. She said, “I think for the [Indoor Conference meet], we surprised ourselves with how well we did. So, I think now that it’s outdoor, we want to solidify how good we are… maybe move up in our team ranking, that would be really nice.”

Schaefer also hoped to have a successful showing at conference, saying: “I’m just really excited for what will come out of conference. I think the energy on the team this year feels really powerful… and that really makes a difference.”

Olowu and Villa also shared some personal goals. Olowu said, “I’ve really enjoyed my time triple jumping, so I’m hoping to PR, which is ambitious.” Villa also said, “I feel like if I can do well, I [can represent] people who share my background as a person of color and low economic status. So, it’s a lot more to me than just getting a good time… It’ll be a really symbolic victory if I can make the top three.”

The Pioneers will be back in action on May 4 at the Monmouth Open in Monmouth, IL.

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