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Track to Host Darren Young Classic in Fieldhouse

By Darwin Manning

Given the shift back to a typical, frigid Iowa winter, the Track and Field team is glad to be able to compete indoors and fully use the two-year old Fieldhouse, where they will be hosting the second annual Darren Young ’93 Classic this Saturday, Feb. 11 at 10:00 am.

Jake Lindstrom ’14 clears the rope while practicing pole vaulting on Wednesday. Photograph by Andrew Kelley

“We have four or five nationally ranked teams coming to this meet and many times you perform up to the level of the competition, so we’re looking to have that help our people succeed,” said Coach Evelyn Freeman.

The women’s team is benefitting from an increased turnout compared to last year.

“We have a much larger team this year, so there is a lot more positivity and enjoyment in the team and just the track. Since we’re larger, there is a lot of energy on the team,” Meg Rudy ’14 said.

This weekend, athletes will compete for a place in the Midwest Conference (MWC) meet, which will be held the weekend of Feb. 24-25 at Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL.

“The fact that this decides who competes in Conference makes this a crucial meet,” Rudy said.

They will need to capitalize on the heavy regimen they have been under recently, while making sure not to exert themselves to the point where they could risk injury.

“Not getting hurt this early in the season is huge, pushing enough but not trying to do so well that we risk getting injured,” Jake Lindstrom ’14 said.

The team will look to build off strong performances at last weekend’s Cornell Hilltop Meet. Ben Tyler ’14 claimed runner-up honors in the mile run, while Sam Krauth ’14 placed third and Evan Griffith ’15 was seventh. The team also had a trio of fourth-place finishers–Lindstrom in pole vault, Dylan Boucher ’12 in high jump, and Gavin Warnock ’14 in long jump.

“We are looking for some young athletes to not just step into leadership roles, but scoring positions,” Coach Will Freeman said.

Will and Evelyn Freeman expressed resounding confidence in the balance of the team. For both teams, the distance runners are where they show a lot of strength stemming from the typically strong Cross-Country teams.

“For the women’s team, we’re coming off a Conference Championship Cross Country season, and pretty much all of those runners are back,” E. Freeman said.

The men’s team is looking at a mix of new and old to carry them this weekend and for the upcoming matches. Of the new additions, Coach Freeman pointed out Sam Offenberg ’14 in long-toss and Zev Braun ’15 in the javelin. Meanwhile, once the basketball season ends, Griffin Lentsch ’13 will return with a chance at the school record for high jump.

The women, undoubtedly strong in distance events, may impress elsewhere. This includes in the jumps, as Eloise Miller ’15 was able to beat the Grinnell record with 35-5 in the triple jump and will attempt the long jump this weekend. Additionally, Sarah Burnell ’14 and company will look to build on their 4×400 time of 4:13.92.

“We have a bunch of sprinters who have trained all last fall and were mainly not in other sports, so they are much more ahead then they were last year,” Coach E. Freeman.

The Men and Women’s teams will look to use the meet as a way to come together as a group.

“It will be a great chance for us to prepare for the upcoming national meet. As a team, I would love to see us really come together and go into the conference meet as a cohesive group ready to compete to win,” Jordan Young ’14 said.

Both Freemans, along with Darren Young, are jubilant that Grinnell College can once again host, given the new facility. Young ’93 was a top-tier athlete during his time at Grinnell.  He was a multiple national qualifier and led the men’s team to the first Midwestern Conference Triple Crown for running, winning in Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor.

“We collaborated with Darren, and he had the same goals for the meet,” Coach E. Freeman said. “We are all on the same page that it is going to be the best indoor meet in the country, and we are delighted to do that.”


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