Track and field starts fast in first few meets of outdoor season
With three meets behind it, Augustana’s men and women’s track and field team is looking ahead to conference meets.
A strong performance at the Sioux City Relays last weekend and two individual wins at the Jim Duncan Invite in Des Moines April 15, head coach Tracy Hellman confident in his team’s outlook.
“We’re still three weeks out from conference meets, but we are doing good,” Hellman said. “A bunch of kids that competed did well, a step forward for the year.”
At the Jim Duncan invite, junior Valerie Moos took first in 400-meter hurdles, and senior Kelsey Kaufmann won the high jump. Moos’ time of 1:01.32 also cleared the provisional mark for nationals. She will qualify if the time remains in the top 20 for the event across all meets.
Moos said she is optimistic her time will stand.
“It would be an honor to go to nationals and I will hopefully get there,” Moos said. “If weather cooperates, I don’t have any stutter steps before the hurdle and run as fast as I can, I will be able to make it. That’s a lot easier said than done, but being optimistic and running hard is all I can do.”
Moos and Kaufmann won their events at the Sioux City Relays, too.
With these strong results, Hellman is confident both Kaufmann and Moos will qualify for the national championships held in Bradenton, Fla. May 25-27.
Hellman also highlighted indoor standouts sophomore Josh Barrows and junior Olivia Montez Brown as contenders for a national bid.
Barrows took first at the Sioux City Relays in the 800 meters, setting a personal best of 1:51.96 and clearing the provisional mark for nationals.
“The provisional marker in the 800 is a step in the right direction, but it is not good enough to make it to nationals so I need to run faster,” Barrows said. He also set a personal best in 400 meters with a time of 50.20. He hopes to qualify in both events.
Montez Brown finished first at the Sioux City Relays in the long jump and second in the final round of the 100-meter hurdles with a season-best 14.73. Despite these high marks, Montez Brown is not satisfied.
“I can’t complain because they are decent marks, but as an athlete, I think you always want more,” Montez Brown said. “It’s that competitive part of you that is like ok, I did decent, but I could have ran faster or jumped further.”
With three weeks left in the season, the team plans, to ramp up its practice intensity.
Though spotty weather has hampered some previous practices, Hellman and his team are hoping the weather will accommodate better performances.
“When the weather finally gets nice, that’s when you can get out and qualify,” Hellman said.
Few Vikings have realistic chance to qualify, but Hellman is positive that they can get somewhere between four and six qualifiers for nationals, in line with the past few years.
The team travelled Thursday to the “marquee” Drake Relays, one of the largest track meets in the region, which continues through the weekend. After that, to the first round of the NSIC Championships, held in Mankato, Minn., Sunday and Monday, before hosting the Howard Wood Relays May 6 and 7.
Aside from those who continue to nationals, the track season closes May 12-13 with the final NSIC events in St. Paul.