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Track and Field Hosts Annual Luther-Wartburg Dual Meet

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Mitch Stenoien (‘17) runs a relay against Wartburg.

Mitch Stenoien (‘17) runs a relay against Wartburg.

Lily Kime (‘19) | Chips

Lily Kime (‘19) | Chips

Mitch Stenoien (‘17) runs a relay against Wartburg.

Katrina Meyer, Sports Editor

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Luther Men’s and Women’s Track and Field hosted Wartburg in the annual Luther-Wartburg Dual meet at home on May 4. The Norse men lost 111-77, and the women lost 119-72 in their final meet before the conference championships next week.

Some of the top performances for the day for the men’s team included a first-place finish from Collin Kern (‘20) who set a meet record in the 1500m run with a time of 3:58.13.  Other first-place finishes included Mitch Stenoien (‘17) in the 800m run with a time of 1:55.91, Trent Ostby (‘20) in the pole vault with a 12 ft. 11.5 in. jump, Koltin Pfaffle (‘18) in the shot put with a 45 ft. 1.5 in. throw, and Lucas Kane (‘18) in the javelin with a 168 ft. 9 in. throw.

Some of the top performances for the women’s team included a first-place finish from McKenzie Carney (‘18) in the 3000m run with a time of 10:23.56, which is the tenth fastest 3000m run in Luther’s history. Other first-place finishes for the women included Sarah Holtz (‘20) in the high jump with a 5 ft. 1.25 in. jump and Aubrey Highum (‘20) in the javelin with a 110 ft. 11 in. throw.

The meet against Wartburg was a unique opportunity, according to Head Coach Jeff Wettach (‘79). The meet is the only dual on Luther’s schedule. Wettach explained how a dual has a different scoring system. The first place finisher gets 5 points and the second place finisher  gets 3 points. Then, because only two athletes from each team score, the next highest finisher from a team that has not had two athletes score gets 2 points, and the last place gets 1 point. Wettach explained why that was a unique opportunity.

“The head-to-head competition is something I look forward to every year,” Wettach said. “It is our only dual of the season, actually. If I had my way, we would schedule more duals, but most teams prefer to go to larger meets. I like the efficient time element and the head-to-head competition to see how the teams match up.”

The Wartburg dual was also special because it was the last home meet of the season for the Norse. Distance runner Anna Phearman (‘19) talked about the significance of home meets for the team.

“It was a great atmosphere and a fun meet,” Phearman said. “It was really good competition. Wartburg is tough. Their women’s team is ranked very high nationally, so we knew that it was going to be tough competition going in, but we were excited to get out there and compete and do the best that we could. We had a lot of great performances. The home atmosphere really helped with the performances that we had.”

The Luther-Wartburg dual was also the last meet of the regular season for the Norse. The team is now preparing for the  upcoming Conference Championships. Elijah Kane (‘18) reflected on the progress that the team has made over the course of the season.

“Our philosophy is to exponentially grow after indoor season so that by the time outdoor season comes around we are doing our best performances,” Kane said. “That is definitely the case this season. In the meet against Saint Mary’s we had 30-40 personal records. People are at the top of their game.”

Lily Kime (‘19) | Chips
Sarah Holtz (‘20) high jumps against Wartburg.

As the Norse move on to the Conference Championships, women’s  captain Erin Ellefsen (‘17) explained the team goals.

“One goal is that we would like to place better than we did at the Indoor Championships,” Ellefsen said. “There is something really cool about the way our program is. We are one of the teams that improves most from indoor season to outdoor season, so a team goal would be to place better than we did at the Indoor Championships, but also to perform as well as we can and get a lot of people to score.”

Men’s captain Alex Bishop (‘17) also explained team goals going into the championships.

“We always have goals going into Conference,” Bishop said. “It can be hard in track to have one collective goal because every individual is different, but overall, we are working to have our best performances on the day. Hopefully that results in lots of personal records and wins for Luther.”

The men’s and women’s teams will travel to Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, IA, to compete in the Conference Championships May 11-13.

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