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Feven Getachew
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Darren Young Classic stages strong performances

The Grinnell Pioneers Track and Field team is coming off a strong showing at their very own Darren Young Classic, putting up several school and personal records as they competed against nationally ranked teams.

Caroline Froh ’15, Katie Fenster ’14, Stephanie Spahr ’14, and Katherine Sittig ’14 race the 3000m at the Darren Young Classic on Saturday. Photograph by Kyle Espinosa

“We had ten teams here. Wartburg, Nebraska Wesleyan, McMurry, and Central are all nationally ranked teams, so the level of competition was pretty intense,” said Women’s Head Coach Eveyln Freeman.

Competing against a tough field, the Pioneer Women finished 7th and the Men finished 10th.

“We didn’t enter our athletes in events to necessarily score the most points. We used the meet, like all meets heading into conference, to put our people in some of the running events we need to see them run, or they need to experience it and they need to get a seed time for conference,” Freeman said.

Sarah Burnell ’14 won the mile out of a 20-person heat with a time of 5:13.28, setting a new field house record. One week after setting a new school record, Eloise Miller ’15 topped it in the triple jump with a distance of 36’10-1/2”.

Other women who placed on Grinnell’s top ten all-time leader board this past weekend were Hannah Colter ’12 in the 5000-meter run (18:53.38), Christine Ajinjeru ’14 in the 400m (61.92), Jordan Young ’14 in the shot put (37’-1/4”), and the 4x200m relay team of Emily Clennon ’14, Elsa Goldman ’15, Miller, and Ajinjeru (1:53.00). First year pole-vaulters, Athena Carlson, Goldman, and Alyse Hunt also made the top-ten leader board.

The Pioneer Women feel very strong at this point in the season.

“I’m much further ahead this year than I was last year. I am already running PRs for my first races. It feels good; I trained a lot this last year, “ Burnell said.

Standouts for the men at the Darren Young Classic include Gavin Warnock ’14, who placed fifth in the long jump with a distance of 20’8”, Ben Tyler ’14 and Evan Griffith ’15 in the 3000-meter run, and Jake Lindstrom ’14 and Lars Olsen ’15 in the pole vault. Also, Dylan Boucher ’12 broke the school record in the 60m with a time of 7.321.

“The Darren Young is very elite caliber. We had people from all over the nation, some of the most elite Division III teams actually, and I think our team did very well to step up to the task. We had some great performances from individuals and our relays worked out really well. I think overall our team did a great job,” Boucher said.

Both the men’s and women’s teams continue to progress and look forward to Indoor Track Midwest Conference Championships on Feb. 24th in Jacksonville, IL.

“We can compete really well this year [at conference]. Everyone is looking like they are in really good shape and trained over winter break, and it just feels like the whole team is one step ahead of where we were last year at this time, “ Burnell said.

In addition to serving as experience for the Pioneers going into the offseason, the Darren Young Classic also served as a practice for the athletic department as they prepare to host the national championships.

“The Darren Young Classic Indoor Track meet was a great success. It provided u with use useful feedback in preparation for hosting the NCAA Division III National Indoor Track meet in March,” wrote Athletics and Recreation Director Greg Wallace in an email to the S&B.

Some individuals are also looking to advance to the NCAA National Indoor meet being held in the Grinnell Fieldhouse on March 9th and 10th.

“We have a number of women that we are trying to get to qualify for nationals,” Freeman said. “Eloise Miller in the triple jump, Sarah Burnell in the mile and possibly the half mile, Stephanie Rouse [’13] in the 5000 m, and possibly our 4x400m relay team. If we are hosting it would be really nice if one of our own would be able to compete, so we are going to try our best to make that happen.”

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