Luther College Chips

Track and field compete at Drake and St. Mary’s

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Track and field compete at Drake and St. Mary’s

Trent Ostby (‘20) clears a height.

Trent Ostby (‘20) clears a height.

Madie Miller (‘19) | Photo Bureau

Trent Ostby (‘20) clears a height.

Madie Miller (‘19) | Photo Bureau

Madie Miller (‘19) | Photo Bureau

Trent Ostby (‘20) clears a height.

Martin Donovan, Staff Writer

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The Luther College Women’s and Men’s Track and Field teams competed at both the St. Mary’s Open and the Drake Relays last weekend. Luther brought nine women and 10 men to Des Moines for the Drake Relays, while the rest of the team travelled to Winona, Minnesota to compete at St. Mary’s University.

According to Assistant Professor of Health and Physical Education and Head Track and Field Coach Jeff Wettach (‘79), these two meets are particularly important for the Luther Track and Field team as their training is focused on the last few meets of the season.

“It’s in the last third of our season, so when we hit St. Mary’s and [the Drake Relays] it means we only have three meets left,” Wettach said. “In track and field you train and gear towards the last three meets of the season hoping for your very best performances.”

Going into the weekend, Wettach indicated that he is not concerned about the end results of either of the two meets.

“My philosophy is that we are all about performing more than outcomes,” Wettach said. “You can’t control where you place because you can’t control competition.”

Top performances at the St. Mary’s open included Ilsa Knivsland (‘20) and Martel Den Hartog (‘19) who finished fifth and sixth respectively in the women’s 800 meter, while Aubrey Highum (‘20) placed third overall in javelin. Additionally, Erik Duethman (‘18) finished fourth in the men’s 1500 meter.

Notable Luther women’s races at Drake included an 11th place finish in the 4×800 meter relay, 21st place finish in the 4 x 400 meter relay, and fourth place finish in the Iowa Conference distance medley relay.

On the men’s side at Drake, the distance medley relay finished fourth in the Iowa Conference, ninth in the sprint medley relay, and Elijah Kane (‘18) placed 21st in javelin.

There were no reported team scores at the St. Mary’s Open or the Drake Relays.

Jonah Gehrt (‘19) said that the Drake Relays, one of the largest track and field meets in the nation, provided challenging competition.

“I think it was a chance for good competition more than anything else,” Gehrt said. “[In] the college division there are a lot of teams outside of the IIAC, so it’s a lot of teams we don’t get to see very often.”

Kaia Bierman (‘18) echoed this sentiment.

“You know going into it that you are going to go out in your lap faster than usual, which is a great opportunity to push yourself at a new level,” Bierman said. “Especially when you are in the company of these other teams who are perhaps a tier above or at the same level. It’s a really cool opportunity to get into a groove that you are not used to.”

Additionally, Luther track and field members said that the sheer size and significance of the Drake Relays separated the meet from other events.

“Hearing your name announced in that giant stadium while you’re running and I saw myself on that giant screen, that was just crazy,” Amelia Hornseth (‘21) said.

Bierman added to Horseth’s comment.

“Just being there is an honor and people have some inherent respect for you, even if they don’t know your standings or your race,” Bierman said. “The expectations are so high there and you just have to roll with it and accept that you are going to push yourself past your limit.”

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