Macalester nears full strength at Carleton, breaks records

By Megan Walsh

This past Saturday the menƒ?TMs and womenƒ?TMs track and field teams headed to Northfield for the Meet of Hearts hosted by Carleton College, for their third indoor meet this season. Although the teams are still weakened from various injuries resulting in a strained roster, the past weekendƒ?TMs turnout and performances were a vast improvement from earlier competition.Out of five competing teams, the Mac men placed fourth while the women took third. The womenƒ?TMs team was successful in breaking two school records as both teams performed well in a number of events. With more training under their belts and the chance to heal injuries, more athletes were able to compete against their MIAC rivals. With many weeks and meets remaining in the combined indoor and outdoor season, head coach Martin Peper as well as menƒ?TMs and womenƒ?TMs distance coaches Matt Haugen and Jordan Cushing remain optimistic. ƒ?oePeople are really starting to bring their best efforts to practice and competition,ƒ?? said Haugen. They hope and expect the teams to perform well in the upcoming conference meet and possibly send some athletes to nationals.

ƒ?oeIt was a really low key meet,ƒ?? Nat Brashear ƒ?TM06 said about Carleton. ƒ?oeIt was great to see other MIAC teams that we will compete against again in the outdoor season. Both teams had some great showings.ƒ??

Competing in his first collegiate track season, Tyler Schwecke ƒ?TM08 led the menƒ?TMs team by winning the long jump and placing second in the 55 meter dash by one hundredth of a second.

The distance medley relay team comprised of Nate Crider ƒ?TM08, Tammie Khumalo ƒ?TM06, Josh Springer ƒ?TM08 and anchor leg Matt Wegmann ƒ?TM08 also won their race, edging Carletonƒ?TMs team by three seconds. Khumalo also finished third in the 55 meter dash. Other great performances came from David Auguston ƒ?TM07 placing second in the 1000 meter run, posting a personal best. Auguston currently holds the second fastest time in the MIAC for the 1000 meter race.

Zak Morrow ƒ?TM08, who was originally uncertain about competing in the indoor season, finished second in the 5000 meter run. Morrow outran the third place finisher in the last 50 meters with a dramatic finishing kick.

National competitor Alex Wise ƒ?TM07 remains hindered by injury while he jumped for a disappointing second place in the pole vault at Carleton. Jake Kruger of Hamline, Wiseƒ?TMs comparable MIAC competitor in the vault, took first in a provisional national qualifying height. The indoor season has been less than satisfying for Wise so far, as he looks to defend his conference crown from last year. However, Wise, like the rest of the team, has shown progress with his recent ability to compete and his dedication to improving the health of his injury.

Peper says that he hopes the menƒ?TMs team continues to improve this season. ƒ?oeThe team is very deep,ƒ?? he said. ƒ?oeThe men have the capability of competing successfully in many different events.ƒ?? He described the indoor conference meet in two weeks as a midterm exam, saying the ultimate goal is to perform well at the MIAC outdoor championship in May.

Emily Stafford ƒ?TM06 and Susan Brown ƒ?TM07 led the talented womenƒ?TMs team. Stafford won the 600 meter dash and broke a 14 year old school record a time of 1:39.83. Brown, one of the top jumpers in the MIAC, maintained her status by placing first in the high jump and triple jump.

The distance medley relay made up of veteran leaders Stafford, Koby Hagen ƒ?TM06, Allie Woerpel ƒ?TM07 and Jen Noelke ƒ?TM07, also broke a school record with a time of 12:46.09. The girls bettered their record from last year, showing continual improvement. Hagen also won the mile run, and Kaela Schramm ƒ?TM07 took top honors in the 55m hurdles.

Cushing says the team is stronger and deeper than past teams, supportive, and becoming more and more competitive every year. The team includes many talented seniors who she hopes are able to ƒ?oego out with a bang.ƒ?? She also mentioned the group of energetic first-years she hopes is able to benefit from the upperclass leadership.

Cushing hopes the team performs well throughout their outdoor season, and is able to qualify as many runners as possible for the MIAC conference championship and that some runners are able to qualify for nationals. ƒ?oeWe have to continue to expect a lot from each other,ƒ?? said Haugen in reference to the teamƒ?TMs leadership and support. ƒ?oeI donƒ?TMt want anyone to say what if at the end of the season.ƒ??

Even though the indoor season is winding down, the track and field team has a ways to go. Although results have shown quality individual performances for both teams, they have yet to race, jump and throw against a highly competitive field of athletes. The team is looking forward to their meet this Saturday at the University of Minnesota that will put them against other conference rivals as well as Division I and II athletes. ƒ?oeThe results look great, but we could use stronger competition,ƒ?? said Anna Gordon ƒ?TM06. ƒ?oeU of M will be a great chance to race fast.ƒ??