The Gustavus Men’s Track and Field Team took third at the MIAC Outdoor Championships last weekend.
Once again, Senior Michael Hensch and Sophomore Taylor Rooney led the team with unprecedented performances at the Conference Meet.
While many members of the team stepped up to propel the team to a third place finish, nobody was more influential than Hensch.
On day one of the meet, Hensch dominated the hammer throw and shattered the MIAC record with a toss of 61.13 meters, a full 2.133 meters farther than his second place competitor.
He added one more first place finish on Friday, winning the discuss with a throw of 47.65 meters.
On Saturday, Hensch did something that has never been done in the history of the MIAC meet when he won the two remaining throwing events to complete a sweep.
In the shot put, Hensch produced a throw of 16.60 meters and in the javelin, his throw of 58.11 meters was about a half meter better than the second place finisher.
“It’s very special for him to win all four throws, I’m floored by that and never even considered it would happen. The beauty of it is that this year is one of the toughest years in the history of the MIAC as far as competition goes. The top hammer throwers in the country are in our conference, all kinds of All-Americans, and he was able to come through,” Throwing Coach Tom Thorkelson said.
Hensch now holds numerous Gustavus and MIAC throwing records, and has left an indelible mark on the program.
“What [Hensch] has done for the program is unprecedented. He is irreplaceable. He gets his work done and pushes others. He just has this calmness about him. He’s all business and you never know when he is going to unleash the next big throw,” Head Coach Dale Bahr said.
Hensch wasn’t the only record breaker for the Gusties, however. Rooney continued his streak of MIAC dominance in the 110 meter hurdles.
Rooney took first place in the event and set a new MIAC record with a time of 14.15 seconds.
The previous record of 14.48 seconds was set in 2009 and stood for a decade before Rooney came along.
Rooney was also one of a number of Gusties who scored points with solid finishes in other events.
With a time of 10.97 seconds, Rooney finished in sixth place in the 100-meter dash.
“Everybody that scores plays a role and when the competition is as close as it is, you are battling for every single point,” Bahr said.
First-year Xander DuMoulin was the next best individual finisher for the Gusties, finishing in fifth place in the triple jump with a distance of 13.36 meters.
In the 800-meter run, fellow First-year Noah Johnson earned a sixth place finish with his time of 1:56.93 minutes.
“[Johnson] and [DuMoulin] stepped up and it gives us a bright light for the future. [Johnson] had a great race. Next year he’ll be maintaining position in the front of the pack. [DuMoulin] has a lot of improvement to go with his technique and I have no doubt he’ll be better next year,” Bahr said.
The Gusties also turned out successful relay teams in both the 4×100 meter and the 4×400 meter races.
In the 4×100, Rooney and DuMoulin teamed up with Senior Jack Blaney and First-year Wyatt Quiring to win fourth place with a time of 42.83 seconds.
In the 4×400, Johnson paired with fellow First-year Dylan Gast, as well as Seniors Jack Schugel and Ben Madigan to earn fifth place with a time of 3:22.07.
“I could not be more proud to break into the top five and move up from there. You don’t move up in the top five very easily. The guys have done exactly what we’ve asked of them all year and it’s paid off,” Bahr said.
Outdoor Nationals are scheduled to take place on May 24th in Geneva, Ohio.