Both the men’s and women’s track and field teams competed in their first outdoor meet of the spring season. The 14th annual Lee Krough Invitational took place on Saturday, April 12 at the Gustavus Track and Field Complex. A mix of conference and non-conference teams including Bethany Lutheran College, Martin Luther College, Minnesota State University Mankato, UM-Morris, Saint Mary’s University, Southwest Minnesota State University, and the College of St. Scholastica traveled to Gustavus to compete.
Although there was no official scoring at the meet, Gustavus men kicked off the outdoor season with a total of 22 individual top three finishes. Senior Cameron Clause finished first in the pole vault and long jump, and took second in the javelin. Senior Blair Riegel took first in the triple jump and had two other third place finishes in the 200-meter dash and the long jump. Junior Leighton Becher won the steeplechase while Junior Nick Carlson took first place in the javelin. First-year Sam ReMine finished second in the 400-meter dash. The Gustavus throwers earned both second and third place finishes from Senior Ryan Obele and Senior Pat Tracy, respectively. Obele also took second in the hammer throw and third in the discus, while Tracy placed third in hammer throw.
The women earned multiple top three finishes as well. Junior Haley Kemper took second in the 400-meter dash, and Sophomore Marit Sonnesyn finished second in the 5,000-meter run. Junior Marit Henckel placed third in the steeplechase. Gustavus’ top jumper was Senior Anna McDevitt, who took second in the triple jump. The throwers had five women place in the top three; Sophomore Sara Swanson took second in the shot put, Junior Jill Kalis was runner-up in the discus, and Junior Rachel Colter placed second in the Javelin. Sophomore Hayley Solheim and Junior Elizabeth Weiers each had a third place finish in the shot put and hammer throw, respectively.
After a successful indoor season, Clause is still working to improve. Clause placed fourth in the heptathlon at the 2014 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. The Gustavus athlete took second place in both the 1,000-meter run and the pole vault earning All-American honors. Over spring break, Clause stayed on campus in order to compete in the Wartburg Select in Waverly, Iowa, where he took first place in the decathlon, breaking the school record with a score of 6,491 points.
“I know there’s a lot of places where I can still improve on that, which is really good. I’m just trying to keep my motivation going because school’s coming to a close, and its coming to crunch-time. I just have got to stay focused and stick to my workout regiment and just believe in what I’m doing,” Clause said.
Both the men’s and women’s teams have high goals set for the season, specifically focusing on peaking at the right time. A goal that the team as a whole carries from season-to-season is to have at least one athlete qualify for every event at the MIAC Championships, as well as bring a bigger team to the meet.
“We have a pretty tough conference so our goal is just being able to improve upon what we did at indoor conference. We had a pretty solid indoor season but we’re looking to improve on that,” Nick Carlson said.
In addition to setting competition-related goals, the team has committed to creating a better team atmosphere in order to enhance performance. Often, teams from different schools separate the men and women for training. However, Gustavus track and field trains as one team which creates an even closer team.
“It’s hard when there’s different event groups but we try to cheer each other on. You can always see Gustavus kids cheering on other event groups, which you don’t see other schools doing a lot so that’s really nice,” Kemper said.
Senior Leah Brossoit agrees that the team has been successful so far in emphasizing the team atmosphere.
“We really stress teamwork. The coaches have really made an effort to stress the importance of teamwork, so I think we’re a lot stronger that way,” Brossoit said.
McDevitt reports that the energy level of the team has been much higher compared to last season, and the team is excited to begin outdoor competition. Coming off of indoor season, the Gusties are excited about the weather, seeing they have been able to practice outside almost a full month earlier than last year due to the snowfall.
“We weren’t even outside at this point last year, we’ve had this whole week outside and it’s been super fun. People are just super excited to get going for this last month and a half,” McDevitt said.
The team is set to compete Saturday, April 19 at the Carleton Relays in Northfield, with another home meet the following weekend.