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The Scarlet & Black

After stormy night, Track ready to get on The Dick

After spending Spring Break in South Carolina and competing in two meets, the Grinnell Track Team is ready to display their work for the home crowd this weekend when the Dick Young Classic kicks off at 8 a.m. Saturday, April 17 at the Les Duke Track.

“There are two meets that matter to us, really three, the indoor conference meet, our home meet and the outdoor conference meet,” said Head Coach Will Freeman. “It gives us a chance to perform at home and it looks like we are going to have great weather and good competition, so to me that means we’re going to have good marks. Right now that’s what we are trying to do, get fast marks for qualifying for conference.”

The squad is coming off of a training trip to South Carolina where in addition to some team bonding and beach time, the athletes had multiple practices per day and focused on refining the technique of their events.

“It went great, the weather was great and the work ethic was great,” Freeman said. “Those trips are big for technical events like throws, jumps and hurdles. Those kinds of things really benefit from the one-on-one time and we had multiple sessions. We were working out three or four times a day…with different groups and you can’t do that here.” 

Following their return to Iowa, the group traveled to Cornell College in Mount Vernon, IA, where they competed in the Hilltop Open with some impressive results. Erik Jarvis ’12 won the 800 meters with a time of 2:07.24 while Mike Tylinski ’11 was second with a time of 2:07.69. Additionally, Joey Synder ’12 won the javelin with a throw of 175’4”. 

On the women’s side, Isabelle Miller ’11 placed second in the 400 meter hurdles with a time of 68.78 seconds, Sachi Graber ’12 took second in the pole vault with a vault of 8 feet and Jacqui Vautin ’13 ran to third with a time of 20:07.14 in the 5000 meters. 

“It was a good first meet—its still really early in the season—not everyone was able to compete but we did well,” Graber said. 

One key change this season is the absence of Women’s Head Coach Evelyn Freeman, who is on sabbatical for the semester. Interim Coach Jeff Pederson has stepped in and the athletes seem glad to have him. 

“[Pederson] is doing a great job,” Graber said. “A couple of us were a little concerned at the beginning of the season because we are used to working with [Evelyn Freeman] so much—she’s our cross country coach too so we work with her every season of the year—but he has been doing a really good job filling in for her and making sure everything is going really smoothly.”

 Coaches can set up a smooth system but some factors are just out of their control, like on April 6, when a violent hail storm moved in, making an otherwise beautiful day dangerous. Although most of the team had finished practice before the storm hit, several distance runners were caught out on their runs with nothing but a ditch in which to take cover.  

“I think it was a shock to their system. That’s pretty serious stuff—you wonder how they’re going take it,” Freeman said. “I worry about the shock of something like that, you feel helpless, you’re out there and there is nowhere to get out of it. But they’re pretty strong folks, they’re back to doing normal training…and they all got through it just fine. ”

Teammates have noticed their teammates’ resilience as well.“They had a fantastic workout today, they took a couple days off, took a couple days to heal,” Graber said. “Obviously it’s been rough for them, they’re battered and bruised, but we got away without too many injuries.”

Regardless of how the Dick unfolds, Coach Freeman knows there is always one meet that means more than all the others combined. The Midwest Conference Championship, where the men took third last year and the women fifth, falls on the weekend of May 14 this year. 

“I’m just really encouraged with the way everyone is training,” Freeman said. “They are working hard training hard, I just feel really good, I think we are going to be where we need to be come May and it’s all about May, that Conference Meet is in our sights from day one.”

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