Skimpy track and field team shows it has a lot of heart

By Nathan Coppersmith

Both the men’s and women’s track and field teams had strong performances this past weekend at Carleton’s Meet of the Hearts, held on Valentine’s Day. This was the first team meet of the season. Macalester competed against teams from Carleton, Gustavus, Hamline, and Luther. Gustavus won the men’s and women’s competitions, while both Macalester teams finished last.

Macalester fields small track teams, and thus team scores are not a good representation of their skill. Rather, the teams opt to focus on the efforts of individual athletes.

“Several of our top athletes have been out due to injuries, so when everyone is healthy again, then we will score many more points,” Franz Meyer ’09 said. “However.we are not a very big team. As Coach Peper often says, ‘Track is 18 different sports on one team.’ With a small team, it’s difficult to compete in each event. So our success as a team is defined by the improvement each individual athlete sees in their events.”

“In terms of the [women’s] team itself, a few members each of sprinters, distance, and field events have come out really strong for the indoor season,” Devon Kristiansen ’12 said. “But our entire team is just using this indoor season as a proving ground for outdoor track, then we’ll really begin to see some real payoff.”

The individual focus paid off well last weekend with very strong performances from Macalester athletes across the board. Emily Matthews ’10 won both 200 and 400-meter events (27.48 and 61.63 respectively), Franz Meyer ’09 topped the charts in the 1000-meter run (2:41.96), and Ollie St. John ’12 beat 23 other runners to win the mile run (4:28.30).

For the women, Maddie Mette ’10 and Mari Mejia ’11 finished second and third in the 55-meter dash (7.92 and 7.95). Libby Tollefson ’11 and Emma Swinford ’12 finished seventh and eighth in the mile run out of 20 competitors (5:37.76 and 5:40.51). The women’s team finished third in the 800-meter relay (1:51.63).

On the men’s side, Wade Ekstrom ’10 finished close behind a runner from Luther to take second in the 3000-meter run (8:43.96), Alex Rosselli ’10 finished third in the 55-meter hurdles (8.38) and Martin Stenman Andersson ’10 finished sixth in the 200-meter dash (24.21).

The team looks ahead to this weekend’s Snowshoe Open at the University of Minnesota and the rest of the season with a positive attitude for success and improvement.

“I think the team’s been doing great, and they’ll only do better,” Ollie St. John ’12 said. “It’s still early in the season, and after this, we’ve got all of outdoor season ahead of us. Some of us have had some great performances already, and that only bodes well for the future. What’s important at this point in the season is that everyone feels good about what they’ve done, and looks forward to what comes ahead.