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The Scarlet & Black

In light of strong Midwest Conference finish, track and field teams look forward to outdoor competition

Cory Hall
Paige Olowu `22 participated in team relay, long jump, and the 200-meter in the MWC indoor final event. Contributed by Ted Schultz.

The Grinnell College men’s and women’s track and field teams capped off their indoor season with a strong performance during the Midwest Conference Championship meet hosted by Knox College in Galesburg, llli. The women’s team placed fourth overall with 91 cumulative team points and the men’s team placed fifth overall with 73 cumulative team points. 

Many of Grinnell’s track and field athletes went into this weekend’s competition with a lot of energy and hype for the coming championship run.  

Sara Reid `22 was especially feeling this intensity going into her events. “Since it is my first year on the track team, it was exciting but definitely nerve-wracking. It’s really daunting because I don’t entirely know what I’m doing, but I think that everyone on the team is super supportive, and everyone is energizing and encouraging with whatever you are doing so you become fine” she said. 

Sterling Hollond `24 agreed. “There weren’t any fans there watching you, but it is pretty cool to see all of your teammates cheer you on and cheer everyone else on during their events. This made it a cool, positive environment and made it very conducive to getting PRs [personal records],” he said. 

This energy appeared to have paid off with the success gleaned and hardware brought home by both teams over the weekend. 

On the women’s team, the 4×400 relay team — made up of Paige Olowu `22, Sadie Staker `24, Sara Garcia `25, and Athena Frasca `23 — as well as the 4×1600 relay team — of Micaela Daney `22, Allison Rabbani `25, Eleanor Elliot-Rude `25, and Emma Schaefer `25 — came away with second place finishes. Garcia and Staker earned third and fourth place respectively in the 60 hurdles, Schaefer took third in the 3000-meter and Mira Diamond-Berman `25 went on to take eighth in the same race. Olowu placed fourth and sixth in the long jump and the 200-meter respectively, Frasca placed fourth in the 400-meter, Sonia Edassery `23 finished the 200-meter with a program all-time top-10 time of 27.87 seconds, and Sarina Kopf `22 was honored with the Elite 20 award, an honor reserved for the student athlete competing at the MWC conference meet with the highest cumulative GPA in their respective sport. 

On the men’s side, the sprint medley team made up of Alex Hiser `23, Tommy Jacobs `22, Zach Willis `22 and Declan O’Reilly `22, finished second in the conference and set a school record as the fifth fastest sprint medley time in program history. O’Reilly also finished in second place in the 800-meter alongside his teammates Willis and Micah Cantor `25 with finishes at fifth and seventh place respectively. The 4×200 relay team, made up of Jacobs, Hiser, Andrew Fuller ‘24 and Kyler Walcher `23 placed fifth in the conference. Andrew Nickeson `23 and Brian Goodson `24 both earned third place in the 1600-meter and 5000-meter respectively, with Nickeson setting a record with the third best mile time in program history at 4 minutes, 23.21 seconds. Nickson went on to place second in the 3000-meter alongside his teammate Ben Harvey `22, who placed eighth. Harvey, also running the mile, placed seventh. Xavier James `25 and Sterling Hollond `24 earned seventh and eighth place in the 60 hurdles with times of 9.73 and 10.48 seconds respectively. 

The trio of Hollond, Jacobs, and Theo Richter `23 each placed sixth in the pole vault, 400-meter and weight throw respectively. Finally, both the distance relay team of Carter Williams `25, Walcher, Ryan Boev `25 and Eli Brotman `25 as well as the relay team of Fuller, O’Reilly, Boev and Willis placed third. 

Frasca attributed the team’s success to their careful preparation and injury management going into the conference meet. 

“I think that our practices in the time leading up to the conference meet are really helpful. We do something called ‘tapering,’ which is where we do a lot less volume of workouts and drills at practice. It’s like we do less of everything physically and focus more on recovery and making sure our performance preparations are really purposeful. It does depend on what your event is and how much energy your event usually takes up, but everyone uses it to kind of get prepared, mentally too,” she said. 

Although the indoor season is coming to an end, many on the track teams are looking forward to the outdoor season. Between the nice weather, the larger track and the more competitive nature of the outdoor season, the team has ample reasons to be excited to take their talents outside. 

“We’re kind of looking forward for when we get there [outdoor season] because it’s less sterile than indoor season. You’ve got the weather, the wind, even the rain. We also have a meet over spring break in Atlanta, Georgia at Emory University, and that will be a very cool one,” said Nickeson. 

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