Senior Michael Hensch competes in the weight throw at the Maverick Invite this past weekend. He finished third with a distance of 59-4.75.

Track and Field competes at Maverick Invite: Gusties prepare for MIAC Indoor Championships

Track and field had a strong showing this past weekend at the Maverick Invite hosted by Minnesota State University-Mankato.

The men’s team took first this past Saturday, posting a score of 151 points.

On the women’s side, the team finished fourth out of six amongst a pool of strong teams.

The Gusties faced off against a number of competitive non-conference opponents. Some of the teams included non-conference rival UW-La Crosse as well as Minnesota State University-Mankato, Upper Iowa University, and Winona State University, which are Division II colleges.

The men’s team had strong showings from a variety of events. The team was led by notable performances from Sophomores Taylor Rooney and Nick Kerbeshian, as well as Junior Bridger Pavelka in some long distance events.

Sophomore Taylor Rooney holds the eighth best Division III time in the 60 meter hurdles.
Sophomore Taylor Rooney holds the eighth best Division III time in the 60 meter hurdles.

Head Coach Dale Bahr was very pleased with Rooney’s performance over the weekend.

“Taylor Rooney is tied for eighth in the country in the 60 hurdles and beat a rival from La Crosse,” Bahr said.

Rooney took first in the 60 meter hurdles at the Maverick Invite, posting a personal record of 8.14 seconds.

Other notable finishes included Pavelka and Kerbeshian, who took first and second in the 1000 meter race, respectively. The two finished neck and neck, with official times of 2:40.42 and 2:40.71, both of which proved to be personal records.

Bahr was excited with what he saw that day and is looking forward to show the talent the team has at the MIAC Indoor Championships this upcoming weekend.

“We are excited with some of the good performances at this meet,” Bahr said. “That’s what we want to see the week before conference.”

Another integral part of the men’s team is Senior Michael Hensch, a veteran thrower for the Gusties.

Hensch provided a lot of points for the Gusties during the day, posting a second place finish in the shot put with a distance of 52-2.75. He also placed third in the weight throw with a distance of 59-4.75.

The women’s team also had a promising result this past weekend finishing fourth out of six teams, with many strong results and personal records.

Junior Adonya Gray sprints her way to the finish line during a meet earlier this season.
Junior Adonya Gray sprints her way to the finish line during a meet earlier this season.

The women’s middle-distance runners had strong performances, led by Junior Tierney Winter and Sophomore Josie Blake.

Winter’s first place finish in the 1 mile race was accompanied by a time of 5:15.26, a promising performance with conference coming up.

Blake also had a personal record of 3:05.89, which earned her second place in the 1000 meter event.

Bahr was happy that the team got to experience some high-quality competition before one of the most important meets of its season.

“It was really nice to go against some tough competition in a low-key meet because there were not many teams,” Bahr said. “It takes some pressure off. Our ladies are putting some things together and we’re happy with the results from this meet.”

Junior Katie Keelin also had a MIAC-leading performance this season in the weight throw with a distance of 51-11.25.

“Josie Blake had a lifetime PR and is really setting herself up to perform well at the conference meet,” Bahr said. “Katie Keelin also had a PR and is leading the MIAC in the weight throw,” Bahr said.

With these strong performances coming from both the men’s and women’s teams, there is a lot to be excited about heading into a weekend of intense competition.

Both teams will be traveling to St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN for the Indoor Conference Championships. The meet is set to be hosted Thursday, Feb. 21 and continue through Saturday.

This will be an important meet for the programs as it is the last chance for indoor competition.

As this wraps up, the team will look to start their outdoor training in full stride to prepare for the additional events that come with outdoor competition.