Better numbers give Scots more opportunities

By Mike Snavely

The Macalester women’s Track and Field squad began its outdoor season last Saturday. Thanks to a strong freshman class the Scots have a chance to put up decent scores this spring. At a track meet, a team receives a score based on the combined results of individual events. As a result, if a team doesn’t have enough athletes to fill all of the events, it is at a disadvantage from the start. The Scots have historically had to wrestle with this problem, but with the improved numbers they have seen this year they have the potential to put up competitive team scores this spring.

The numbers still aren’t perfect, though. The Scots could use at least four more sprinters, and head coach Martin Peper is forced to pull athletes from other events to fill empty spots, a ploy larger college track teams usually have the luxury of avoiding. High jumper Audrey Mills ’12 made it clear that “in college you come to jump or sprint; you don’t come to do both,” and Macalester is hopefully nearing that point.

The Scots owe their bigger roster to the substantial freshman class brought in this year. Nearly 50 percent of the team is made up of first-years, including four key sprinters, and they have brought more than just depth to the team.

“The freshman this year work hard and are extremely enthusiastic, which is a motivating force for the whole team,” says Mills of the many first-years.

In the first outdoor meet of the spring last Saturday, freshmen certainly contributed, but the seniors led the way as the Scots saw some success in multiple events. Emily Matthews ’10 delivered a third place finish in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:00.15. Macalester ended up with three of the top seven spots in the 400 as Kyanna Jones ’13, (1:01.95) and Alexa Simpson ’13, (1:02.09) placed sixth and seventh, respectively.

Maddie Mette ’10, came through for the Scots in the long jump, where a jump of 5.10 meters earned third place, and Richelle Johnson ’13, took fourth in the triple jump with a distance of 10.30 meters.

Matthews is in the top two in the conference for the 400, and Mette is closed to setting a school record in the long jump. The leadership from seniors will be key to Macalester’s success this spring, but also is the reason why having a strong freshman class is so crucial.

Of the seven sprinters, three are seniors and four are first-years. If it weren’t for these young athletes, the Scots would have been left sprinter-less after graduation,.

However the freshman will see plenty of action this year, which bodes well for the future. You can’t teach experience, and experience is what the Scots need moving forward.

There is a sense of optimism and energy surrounding the team, as the first-years have brought numbers and energy to the program. Looking to the future, Mills, on behalf of the team said, “is really excited to go outside. The team is anxious to run and jump; it should be a great outdoor season.”

The team’s next meet is next Saturday’s (April 17) St. Olaf Manitou Classic in Northfield.