The past couple weeks have been very busy for both the Gustavus Men and Women’s Track and Field teams, competing in two meets with a variety of difficult opponents.
On April 26, both the men and women’s programs hosted the Drake Alternative meet, the lone home-meet of the season. There were a variety of teams involved, with only a handful being from the MIAC. Competing schools included Gustavus, Bethany Lutheran, Bethel, Carleton, Concordia St. Paul, Crown, Martin Luther, Minnesota State Mankato, Saint Benedict, St. Olaf, St. Thomas, and UW-River Falls. On the men’s side, five individuals took home a combined six first-place finishes, as well as two relay victories in the 4×100 and 4×400. Sophomore Nick Kerbeshian, Junior Bridger Pavelka, and Senior Alex Wischnack performed well in the long distance events, earning times of 16:29.29 in the 5000M, 4:08.19 in the 1500M, and 9:56.21 in the 3000M steeplechase, respectively. Sophomore Taylor Rooney continued to dominate the 110M hurdles, taking first place with a time of 14.40s. Rounding out the individual performances for the men was Senior Michael Hensch, who took first in both the shot put and hammer throw, earning distances of 16.99M and 60.77M, respectively.
The women also performed well at the Drake Alternative, with three women earning first place honors. Sophomores Karley DeKnikker and Kourtney Kulseth led the Black and Gold on the track, with DeKnikker taking first in the 400M hurdles with a time of 1:09.57 and Kulseth taking first in the 3000M steeplechase with a time of 11:31.09. Rounding out the first place finishes for the women was Senior Bailey Van Den Heuvel, who controlled the field, earning first in the hammer throw with a distance of 50.36M.
This past weekend both the Men and Women’s teams competed in the MSU Twilight Meet, the final meet of the year before the MIAC Championships. Hosted at Mankato State University, both programs had a lot of positive performances.
The men had a total of eleven top-five performances that day, three of which were first place finishes. First-year Eamonn McCullough took first in the 3000M steeplechase with a time of 10:30.65, his personal best as a Gustie. Pavelka and Rooney also continued their hot streaks from the Drake Alternative, each earning first in their respective races. Pavelka won the 800M with a time of 1:59.36, and Rooney won the 110M hurdles with a time of 14.50s. Rooney also competed in the high jump, with a jump of 6’04”, good enough for third place. First-year Dylan Gast also competed well that day, taking second in the 400M race with a time of 50.82s, his personal best for the Black and Gold.
The women did well at the MSU Twilight meet as well, with ten top-five performances, one of which was a first place finish. The lone victory for the women was an exciting one, with Kulseth setting the Gustavus school record in the 1500M race with a time of 4:44.33. Other standout performances for the women included Juniors Haley Anderson and Katie Keelin, as well as Senior Lotus Schifsky. Anderson and Schifsky both took second in their events; Anderson recorded a 2:18.11 in the 800M, and Schifsky earned a 19:33.14 in the 5000M. In the field, Keelin’s 173-07 in the hammer throw was also good enough to earn her second place that day.
Following both meets, Hensch was named MIAC Field Athlete of the Week for his second and third consecutive weeks. At the MSU Twilight meet, Hensch recorded two personal records in both the hammer throw and discus. Hench’s 200-6 in the hammer throw was good enough to surpass the previous Gustavus school record, and he also smashed his previous PR in the discus throw with a throw of 166-2.
Both the Men and Women’s programs will be back in action for potentially the last meet of the year, the MIAC Championships. The meet will be held at the University of St. Thomas on Friday, May 10. The meet will determine who goes on to compete at Nationals, which will be taking place in Geneva, Ohio on May 24.