Track and field compete at conference

Gillian Klein, Staff Writer

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Postseason competition for track and field began this past weekend Thursday, May 10 through Saturday, May 12, at Central College in Pella, Iowa. The men’s team finished seven of nine teams and the women’s team finished six of nine teams.

The track and field season for both the men’s and women’s teams at Luther led to success at conference. Like many sports teams in the 2018 school year, the track and field team had limited outdoor practices. The team worked through weather related obstacles to finish the season strong, according to multi-event competitor Jack Hendricks (‘18).

“We have embraced the bad weather and constant rescheduling,” Hendricks said. “School records have been broken, PRs shattered and this is the most unified I have seen the team in my four years at Luther.”

Hendricks and several other athletes competed in the cloudy weather on the first day of competition. Four of the women’s heptathlon events were run as well as five of the men’s decathlon events.

The women’s 100-meter hurdles began the day with a second place finish from Jackie Krawczyk (‘18) (16.17). Marta Springer (‘19) also finished second in shot put with a final throw of 10.05 meters. Jessica Junker (‘21) appeared in the top 10 final of long jump with a seventh place jump measuring 1.36 meters.

The men’s team saw all three competitors placing in the top 10 across the day’s events. Elijah Kane (‘18) placed third in the men’s 100-meter (11.58) only 16 thousands of a second behind second place. Hendricks threw the shot put 9.99 meters finishing fifth in the finals.

The final event of the day was the men’s 400-meter dash. Robert Smedsrud (‘20) crossed the line at a time of 54.69 seconds taking seventh place.

Day two began with the continuation of the heptathlon and decathlon. Springer took second in the heptathlon (4075 points) Kane took third (5452 points).

For individual events, Sarah Holtz (’19) became conference champion in high jump (5-3 ¼ ft.). The 4 x 800 relay team of Shannon Baker (‘20), Kaia Bierman (‘18), McKenzie Carney (‘18), and Amelia Hornseth (‘21) placed second with a time of 9:20.43.

Hannah Wright (‘18) finished third overall in the10,000-meters in (38:36.12). Finally, Morgan Sammons (‘18) qualified for the finals in both the 100-meter and 400-meter hurdles, with Martel Den Hartog (‘19) qualifing in the 800-meter run.

The men’s 4 x 800 relay team of Jonah Gehrt (‘19), Kyle Gilberg (‘19), Jackson Churchill (‘20), and Collin Kern (‘20) finished fourth in 7:54.98. Nate Orton (‘18) also contributed to the team points with a seventh-place finish in the 3000 meter steeplechase (9:40.30).

The Norse continued their success into the third day. According to Krawczyk, the athletes were greeted with lots of fan support.

“Both curves of the track were filled with athletes cheering,” Krawcyzk said. “We are all there by choice as Division III athletes and the love for the support shows through our fans.”

The final day of competition began with Elijah Kane earning all-conference honors in the javelin, placing second (169-5). Lucas Kane (‘18) also contributed team points in the javelin placing seventh (160-0).

Trent Ostby (‘20) took fifth in the pole vault (13-7 ¼) and Kern placed sixth in the 1500 meter (3:57.32).

Springer placed second in the javelin (121-6) alongside Holtz who took fifth (119-3) and first-year Jessica Junker (‘21) in seventh (113-10). The women’s 1500 meter also had several athletes place in the top ten; including Bierman (4th-4:47.97), Carney (5th-4:47.97), and Hornseth (8th-4:56.05).

Sammons placed seventh in both the 100-meter and 400-meter hurdles (16.03 and 1:06.81). The 4 x 400 meter relay of Baker, Bierman, Sammons, and Springer placed sixth (4:04.05).

The men’s seventh-place finish and women’s sixth-place finish in the meet were telling of the success of this outdoor season. Assistant Coach Scott Mittman (‘14) expressed a similar sentiment.

“We have been steady-state improvement since January,” Mittman said. “We are running faster, throwing farther, and jumping higher and longer than ever before.”

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