Lowrey breaks Mac indoor 5K record at U of M

By Mathew Starner

If Erin Lowrey ’10 was going to beat Bethel’s Kristin Mork in the 5K last Saturday, it meant running a faster indoor time than anyone in Macalester history. And she did.Lowrey won the race at the University of Minnesota, running 18:17, beating the previous 5K record of 18:26 by nine seconds. Mork finished three seconds later at 18:20.

Breaking the record wasn’t as dramatic as one may expect, though.

“She broke the record but no one knew what the record was except for her,” mid-distance runner Anna Hankins ’10 said. “It totally caught me off guard.”

The school record is Lowrey’s first. It is especially remarkable considering she hasn’t run a full season of track since her freshman year, being abroad last year and suffering a stress fracture her sophomore year.

“Since she hasn’t run track in a couple years, it was really impressive to watch,” sprinter Emily Matthews ’10 said. “Erin’s a really good runner, but I was still surprised when it happened.”

It had long been Lowrey’s goal to run under 18:30 in the race, and when she saw her time at 18:17, she recognized the significance of the time.

“I see the board upstairs everyday that has the records,” she said. “I was aware of the record and I thought it was something I could definitely do this indoor season.”

Lowrey has posted consistent finishes throughout the early season, including a 3K win and 5th place finish in the mile run at Carleton on Feb. 12.

Lowrey’s record was supplemented with several other strong finishes, including Hankin’s 16th place finish in the 600-yard run and Emilie Schur’s ’10 fifth place in the 1000 meter.

Schur and Hankin are also seniors who are returning to track after missing their junior years abroad. “I’m impressed with all the distance seniors,” Hankins said. “Many of us studied abroad last year which means we haven’t competed in two years.”

After missing last season due to study abroad, the returning seniors came back to a new state of the art athletic center, which was a significant upgrade to what they were used to.

“It’s awesome to have the Leonard Center and indoor track,” Hankins said. “My sophomore year, we had to wake up at 6 a.m. and run to Concordia to use their indoor track. Half the time bleachers were down and we’d be swerving around obstacles on the track. It was pretty horrible.”

Another distinction this year has been the growth of the team thanks to a larger freshman class.

“It’s really different this year than it has been in the past,” Matthews said. “The last couple years we’ve only had three sprinters or four. But we have a lot of freshmen this year, and they are getting better every week. So it’s promising, exciting and fun.”

Matthews has led by example for the sprinters, starting the year with two second place finishes at the Wisconsin-Stout Warren Bowlus Invitational Jan. 30.

Matthews succeeded that effort with a first place finish in the 200-meter dash and another second place in the 55-meter at Carleton Feb. 12.

“Having such a big team makes everything a little more exciting,” Matthews said. “You have this huge team atmosphere. I think it has stepped up the intensity, but also made it a lot more fun.