Track season underway,

By Ian Ritz

The Macalester men’s and women’s indoor track teams kicked off their seasons last Saturday at the Wisconsin-Stout Open. The Scots traveled to Menomonie, Wisconsin and competed against conference foes Augsburg and Bethel in addition to non-conference opponents UW-Stout, UW-River Falls, Concordia-St. Paul and Northwestern College.

On the first weekend after classes started up following winter break, the meet provided an opportunity to gauge the position of both teams early in the season. Though scores were not kept at the meet, the events were nevertheless competitive and both the men’s and women’s teams turned in strong results individually and collectively.

On the men’s side, the team was led by good performances in the distance events with four top eight finishes. David Augustson’07 and Dylan Keith ’07 set the pace for the Scots, producing a pair of third place finishes. Augustson took third in the mile run with a time of 4:30.49 while Keith placed third in the 3000-meter run with a time of 9:20.96.

“I thought there were some good performances,” Augustson said, “especially in the distance and throwing events.”

Like the men, the women’s team was paced by its performances in several distance events. Koby Hagen ’06 and Anna Gordon ’06 also took home a pair of third place finishes. Hagen was third in the 800-meter race (2:28.15) and Gordon, who looked particularly strong, earned third in the 3000 meters with a time of 11:05.57.

Not to be overshadowed by the distance events, Tammie Khumalo ’06 placed ninth in the 55-meter dash (6.83) and Evan Mitchell ’08 placed sixth in the shot put with a toss of 43-1 and eighth in the weight throw (41-4).

Additionally, thrower Brita Carlson ’06 took fifth in the weight throw (43-7) and also placed eighth in the shot put with a toss of 34-3.

While individuals were able to put in some solid efforts, a rash of injuries throughout the ranks hampered the overall team showing. Thankfully for the Scots, the results of these early season meets aren’t too important, but numerous key contributors are having to ease back into competition in the coming weeks.

For the women, co-captain Kaela Schramm ’07, one of the MIAC’s top hurdlers, had to sit out the finals of the 55 m hurdles while nursing a mild case of tendonitis in her ankle.

“It has taken a bit longer for the team to get into it this winter, however, we have the potential to do well,” said Schramm. “Everyone on the team has a lot to offer.”

Other top women contributors, including cross country co-captain Francie Streich ’06 and sprinter Jennifer Noelke ’07, sat out the first meet of the season. Their pending return should help to boost team scores as well as strengthen relays.

On the men’s side, Alex Wise ’07, last year’s indoor pole vault champion and a top sprinter, has been sitting out with an achilles injury. He should be returning to action this weekend. The men’s distance squad has also suffered a few blows, as Nate Crider ’08 and Josh Springer ’08, two of the team’s top mile and 800 runners, have had to sit out training with various injuries.

As the Scots gradually get back to full strength, the squads will look to challenge for some individual conference champions, and higher conference finishes.

The track teams continue their season this Saturday as they travel to Decorah, Iowa for the Luther Alumni Meet.