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The Scarlet & Black

Indoor Track and Field ready for season to kickoff

By David Kim

Practicing in the newest addition of the Charles Benson Bear Recreation and Athletic Center, the fieldhouse, members of the indoor track team and the coaches are anxious and ready to start this season with a bang.

Sam Levy \’11 leaps over a high hurdle during practice in the new fieldhouse during Wednesday afternoon\’s practice as coach Evelyn Freeman, left, looks on – Andrew Kelley

“The new facility is wonderful,” said Jacqui Vautin ’13. “While many of us miss the [PEC], it’s indisputable that the new fieldhouse blows the old blue indoor track out of the water. I’ve seen several indoor tracks at other schools in our conference, and we’re incredibly lucky to have such a fieldhouse at our disposal.”

Grinnell College has already been honored to host the 2012 NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships.

At least one athlete thinks the new facility changes the way the team looks at the indoor season.

“Being able to finally have our own indoor meet is a big deal for us,” said Team Captain and S&B Photo Editor Ben Brewer ’11. “Historically, indoor season has functioned a lot more like pre-season training for outdoor season, but having two indoor meets this season really steps up the competitive aspect.”

Head Coach Evelyn Freeman added, “It is one of the finest track facilities in the nation at any level. We are thoroughly enjoying the space and the surface. We believe training on a quality surface will help keep folks healthy.”

Jordan Young \’14 puts a shot during Wednesday afternoon\’s practice – Andrew Kelley

In addition, the fact that players can rest in their rooms and not travel too far is a plus.

“It is always special to be at home to compete in front of their friends,” said Head Coach Will Freeman. “I also like the idea that they can sleep in their own beds, and keep to their normal daily routine. The less we can deviate from their normal routine, the better it is for performance.”

With the new fieldhouse feeding them the energy needed to spark the team, the Pioneers’ spirits are going through the roof. The addition of the cross country runners to the track team has also been a positive for the team.

“They are still very fit from cross country, and will no doubt be a huge part of our scoring,” W. Freeman said. “The distance group is especially talented and deep this year.”

The team is very balanced this year with many talented sprinters, jumpers, hurdlers and endurance runners.

“This year we had a really solid group of athletes training during the off-season, and we managed to build a good sense of camaraderie,” said Davis Hermann ’11. “We also got to train one week early this season, so we had a chance to do some team building activities before classes started.”

Since the men’s team has not won a conference title since 1994 and the women’s team has had a similar drought since 1985, W. Freeman believes each meet is one step towards performing better at the Midwest Conference and reaching their goal in winning the conference.

The Pioneers will face Cornell College to begin the season at Cornell on Feb. 5 and will have their first meeting at the new fieldhouse on Feb. 11-12 to host the Darren Young Classic and Pentathlon.

Many players are looking at their first meet at Cornell a preparation for the Darren Young Classic and Pentathlon at the fieldhouse.

“The first meet is typically just to see where everyone’s at,” said Maja Gamble ’12. “Track is a really long season, so if [we] take indoor too hard, [some are] likely to get injured at some point. Most distance runners will be opening at our home meet, not this first meet. It’s always exciting to kick off the season though.”

W. Freeman believes each step towards the Midwest Conference meet is key to reaching their goal in winning the conference.

“This first meet at Cornell is pretty low key for us. It’s a chance to get back into competition on a track. We will then make a big push at our home meet, the Darren Young Classic on February 12,” Freeman said. “The [Midwest] Conference Meet on February 25-26 is our goal for the indoor season. I believe the Pioneers can challenge for a top- two finish at the MWC meet. Are we ready to challenge Monmouth for the conference title? We’ll see in a few weeks if we are ready to compete at that level.”

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