DeWitt breaks record; Barrows places second
With three meets so far in the outdoor season, the track team is optimistic about its chances at conference titles despite difficulties with weather.
The team’s first meet of the year was held in Maryville, Mo.
“I think for our first meet of the season our team performed really well,” said sophomore distance runner Alana Sesow. “Even though it was the first meet of the season, a lot of us hit some of our best marks.”
Last week, the team split up, with some athletes going to Sioux City, Iowa and others going to Platteville, Wis. for its next two meets.
The meets were held last Thursday and Friday, with long-distance runners going to Platteville and shorter distance and field events going to Sioux City.
Assistant Coach Scott Tanis was happy with Thursday’s performances in Platteville.
“It wasn’t a perfect night but we saw a lot of positive things happening,” he said.
Assistant Coach Greg Binstock was also pleased with the team’s performance in Sioux City.
“Even with the meet being cancelled on Friday, almost everyone had an opportunity to compete, which we needed,” said Binstock. It was the first meet of the year for about twenty athletes. Due to weather, all of Friday’s events were cancelled except for pole vault, which was moved indoors to USD in Vermillion.
Though not as much of a problem for distance runners, who can “pretty much run anywhere,” said Sesow, this spring’s unusual weather has presented difficulties for sprinters when they have had to hold practices indoors.
“Indoor tracks are built to be much smaller, so you’re constantly running a curve,” said sophomore sprinter Blake Savey. “So everything is just a little bit slower just because you don’t have that ability to open up your stride like you do on an outdoor track.”
The weather has also had a major impact on scheduling.
“From a competition standpoint, we haven’t competed at a meet when it was scheduled to be,” said Tanis.
Every meet in the indoor season so far has been moved to work around the weather, so students have had to miss class when weekend meets were held on weekdays instead.
Tanis and Binstock said they wanted to thank the faculty for being so understanding and cooperative this spring and working with the students to make up missed class time.
“Next week the weather is starting to really turn, so after this upcoming weekend, we feel like we will hopefully be outside full-time, and we’re really looking forward to that,” said Binstock.
The team’s main goal for the season is to finish in the top three for both the men’s and women’s programs at the conference meet in Winona, Minn. the second weekend of May, said Binstock.
Some of the top contenders he highlighted were senior Valerie Gildemaster in the 400-meter hurdles, who was a national qualifier last year, and senior Anthony Huber, who Binstock says has a strong chance of landing conference titles.
He also highlighted junior Josh Barrows, who was a national qualifier last year, and freshman Callie DeWitt, who broke the school’s 100-meters record in the Sioux City Relays on Thursday with a time of 11.98. The previous record, held by Alaina Klapperich (2016) and Carina Hofmeister (2015), was 12.09.
Gildemaster finished third in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:02.41 and fourth in the 100-meter hurdle prelims with a time of 14.51, a personal best.
On Thursday, Barrows placed second in 400-meter hurdles with a time of 55.29.
In terms of distance-runners, Tanis said the women’s team will have an especially good chance at conference.
He highlighted Mackenzie Kelly, who took third place at Platteville in the 100-meter with a personal best time of 17:00.23, the tenth fastest in the country.
He also highlighted Carly Rahn, who took first at Platteville in the 800-meter with a time of 2:15.18, and Emily Tromp, who finished seventh in the 800-meter at Platteville. Both finished as top contenders.
On Thursday, the team travelled to the Mt. Sac Relays in Walnut, Calif. on El Camino College’s campus and will return Sunday, April 22.