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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
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Track and Field finishes indoor season, moves outside

The Grinnell Men and Women’s Track Teams closed out their official indoor season last weekend at the Midwest Conference Indoor Championships at Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL. The men’s teams, coming off of a fourth-place finish the week before at the Wartburg Invitational, placed sixth in the nine-team field, with various members finishing in scoring positions.

“We had a number of men who had their best times of the season and got on the top ten lists,” said Coach Evelyn Freeman.

Dylan Boucher ’12’s 7.12 second time in the 60-meter dash earned him fourth place in the event and tied his own Grinnell school record set just the day before.

“I was really impressed with Dylan’s 60,” Kyle Moorehead ’15 said, who himself finished fourth in the 800-meter on Saturday with a time of 1:59.05. “That was incredible to watch.”

Other top performances included Jake Lindstrom ’14’s fourth-place finish Friday in the pole vault competition, with a jump of 13’-6 ½” that placed him at number 8 on Grinnell’s all-time top-ten records list, and Andy Hirakawa ’12’s 9.04 second effort in the 60 meter hurdles, beating his own school record—set the day before—by 0.04 seconds.

In the Women’s field, Grinnell’s 72 points were good enough to earn them a fifth-place finish, behind champion Monmouth College’s 224.

The story of the weekend was that of the 4×400-meter relay team, made up of Isabelle Miller ’13, Eloise Miller ’15, Christine Ajinjeru ’14 and Sarah Burnell ’14.

In the last event of the day on Saturday, with their teammates cheering them on, the quartet rode a time of 4:04.33 to a second-place finish, just 0.06 seconds behind Carroll University. This clocking shattered the previous school record of 4:06.53, set by the same four earlier this season.

Burnell relishes the challenge that this race has presented all season.

“It feels great, every time we compete to cut another two seconds off of the time,” Burnell said. “It’s exciting because the more time that we drop, the closer we are to possibly qualifying for Nationals. It gets exciting every time because it’s the last race of the day, so everyone just gives it everything.”

The foursome hopes to shave their score down to 3:58.00 at next week’s “last chance” meet at Iowa State University, with the intention of qualifying for the NCAA Nationals event on March 9-10 at the brand new fieldhouse facility here in Grinnell.

Burnell also contributed a third place, 2:16.75 performance in the 800-meter on Saturday, while Ajinjeru and Eloise Miller produced fourth-place efforts in the 400-meter and triple jump, respectively, with scores of 1:00.90 and 35-11 ½. Placing fifth were Sachi Graber ’12, with 9-5 ¾ distance in the pole vault event Saturday and Hannah Colter ’12, with a time of 18:50.48 in the 5000-meter on Friday.

Both Men’s and Women’s teams hope to build on these successes in transitioning into the outdoor track season. The general feeling is optimistic.

“The team is really only going up from here,” Moorehead said. “All throughout indoor, everyone was dropping times, and even at the Conference meet we were still dropping times. So, we should come into outdoor in a really good position to start doing some things.”

In Freeman’s opinion, key to their success this spring is their ability to build upon the physical gains of their indoor season.

“We won’t have a competition for another month,” Freeman said. “So we can really focus on getting more fit—stronger, faster, everything.”

About half of the team will spend a week of spring break training in Daytona Beach, Florida. Then, starting the second weekend of April, both squads will begin traveling to meets all around the Midwest, in the hope that, come the Outdoor Conference Championships in May—and even Nationals—this hard work will pay off.

To Ajinjeru, fresh off her exhilarating performance Saturday, it’s simply a matter of maintaining momentum.

“Keep the spirits up,” she said. “Keep everyone pumped, keep everyone psyched, and hope that the outdoor season is as exciting as the indoor [season was].”

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