Parker Burman – Staff Writer
Last weekend the Gustavus Track and Field team was in St. Paul to compete in the two-day-long MIAC Indoor Championships. After day one of the competition, the men and women were sitting in fifth place with 41 and 48 points. With an intense day Sunday, the women were able to push themselves into third place while the men finished in their same fifth place slot.
Starting with the women, Senior Birgen Nelson continued her dominance in the 60-meter hurdles, setting the MIAC Indoor record during prelims with an 8.56. In the events final, she strengthened that time by hurdling an 8.53 to claim the title. Junior Danielle Miller was also named All-Conference in the 60-meter hurdles, finishing third in the race with a 9.24 time.
Nelson also earned All-Conference in the 60-meter, taking third with a time of 7.865. Teammate and Sophomore Kate Carlson just edged out Nelson for second place with a time of 7.861. Sophomore Megan Geraets added another All-Conference for the Gusteis with a second-place finish in the 400 meter.
“I think our team competed very well this weekend. We had girls go out and have some amazing PRs in their races, and we also had a lot of support from teammates cheering on others after their races or from teammates who came to the meet to support our team,” Geraets said.
On the men’s side, Senior Josh Beiswanger highlighted the men’s first day of competition by winning the weight throw with a toss of 56-4.5. Sophomore Tyler Smith took home All-Conference in the 800 meter, taking second place with a 1:56.93. In addition to these two impressive accomplishments, Senior Tucker Wallin broke a nearly 45-year-old school record in the mile with a blazing time of 4:16.48 to secure third place.
“I was really satisfied to place 2nd and 3rd against very competitive fields of athletes. I would’ve liked to win the conference championship for the 800, but I put out my best effort and am happy with the outcome,” Smith said.
On the final day of competition, the Gusties women secured three more event championships. Nelson won in the 200 meter with a time of 25.61 and then teamed up with teammates Carlson, Geraets, and Junior Ally Rakow to win the 4×200-meter relay. Their time of 1:45.39 broke a school record that had stood since 1998. In the field, Senior Annika Poe won the shot put with a throw of 46-0.75.
“After finishing the race and just having the anticipation of seeing our time, and then realizing that we broke the 4×200 record; there’s just no better feeling than that accomplishment and pride to set a new record a new goal for our school,” Geraets said.
“I am so proud of the girls on this relay! We missed the school record last year by .30, so it was amazing to break the record this year,” Nelson said.
Geraets continued a strong weekend with All-conference honors in the 200 meter taking third with a 26.05. Senior Erin Beer finished third in the high jump with a leap of 4-11.75.
The men performed well on Sunday as well, where Wallin took home another distance title, this time in the 1000 meter with a time of 2:31.32. In the 4×400 meter relay Smith, Seniors Seth Zeitchick and Wyatt Quiring, and Junior Agro Gushwa took third place with a time of 3:27.37. The 4×200 relay team of Quiring, Zeitchick, Junior Matthew Skelly, and Senior Peter Oviguan took fourth with a 1:30.94 time.
“I’m extremely proud of how hard the team fought in the 4 by 4. Everyone on the relay had already raced at least once or twice earlier in the championship, but Wyatt, Seth, and Agro left everything on the track for our relay and for our entire team,” Smith said.
A select few Gusties will compete at the Wartburg Qualifier on Saturday, March 4, with hopes of gaining an invitation to compete in the NCAA Indoor Championship in Alabama the following weekend.
“The women’s team really wanted to bring home first place, but with some things not going to plan, we are still proud of our performance. We have some great momentum for the rest of the year moving onto the outdoor season, and I can’t wait to watch the success that is to come,” Carlson said.