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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

The Dick smaller than last year, still satisfying

Despite the recent downturn in weather, the Grinnell’s Track and Field team has grown, excelled and had athletes finish consistently in top places in sprint, distance and field events.

At the recent meet Jim Duncan Invitational in Des Moines, Pioneer women led by Elana Gartner ’14, Christine Ajinjeru ’14, Sarah Burnell ’14 and Isabelle Miller ’13 broke the school record in the 4×400-meter relay, Gartner ran her split of 63.5, Ajinjeru a 60.4, Burnell a 60.6 and Miller a 60.2, for a time of 4:04:78, besting the previous record of 4:04:91, set in 1997.

A trio of Grinnell runners, (left to right) Ben Tyler '14, Shyam Deshpande '11, and Alex Reich '11, lead the pack during the Men's 5000m run two weekends ago at the Cornell College Open track meet. Photograph taken by Ben Brewer.

The Pioneer men also fared well, Griffin Lentsch ’13 and Sam Goldstein ’11 had top finishes in the triple jump event. Lentsch was ninth in the triple jump with a leap of 40-10 ¼, while Goldstein was 10th in the event at 40-8 ¼.

The season overall has seen strong performances.

“I think the season is going really well. It’s pretty exciting, it all started with having the new indoor field and that really helped us to be able to run our track practices the way they really ought to be run,” Freeman said.

Sprint Team Captain Davis Herman ’11 agrees the new facilities have contributed to the team’s early successes.

“We’ve also seen several school records broken already this season, which is super exciting.” Herman said. “This is also the first year we’ve been able to train on our new indoor track, so as a team we definitely feel compelled to make the best of our outstanding facilities.”

A number of top finishes have been recorded this season. On the men’s side alone over 10 new all-time records have been placed, Herman snagged the 8th spot for fastest 400-meters at 51.83. Other entries include Alex Reich ’11 (10000m Run), Shyam Deshpande (3000 Steeplechase), Griffin Lentsch (High Jump), Scott Phillips (200m Dash) and Kevin Pflaum (Hammer Throw).

Griffin Lentsch '13 eyes the bar during his high jump attempt at the Cornell College Open track meet two Saturdays ago in Mount Vernon, IA. Photograph taken by Ben Brewer.

Another benefit this season is the number of both new and returning talent which has helped team unity.

“We have a lot of talent on our team from both the first years and returning runners.  I think most of us would agree that the team as a whole is ahead of where we’ve been in past years,” said Sprint Captain Sam Bates ’12. ”There have already been a number of new records set and we just started outdoor season!”

Coach Freeman is especially pleased with the first year additions.

“We have really awesome group of freshmen, I am really especially proud of our freshmen class.” Freeman said. “I can’t say enough about their dedication and work ethic.”

These team dynamics really played out at the Indoor Conference meet that Grinnell hosted, which was also was a favorite of some of the athletes.

“So far my favorite meet was definitely the Indoor Conference meet here at home,” Herman said. “We had a lot of people come out and support the team, which was a lot of fun.”

Going into this weekend’s home meet, the Dick Young Classic, the team feels confident.

“I suspect the Dick Young this Saturday might trump [the Indoor Conference Meet], though. It’s always a lot of fun,” Herman said.

The meet has a lot of potential to set the team on the right track for the rest of the season.

“Really, right now tends to be the turning point where the countdown to conference is on, so people are buckling down and getting serious about busting out some really quality performances. It’s an exciting time,” Bates said.

Grinnell hosts the Dick Young Classic this Saturday, April 23, at Les Duke Track. The meet starts at 8 a.m.

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