Wyatt Hill ('21) Photo Bureau
On Feb. 28 and 29, Luther hosted the American Rivers Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships, capping Luther’s indoor season. The women placed sixth out of nine teams with 33 points, and the men placed seventh out of nine teams with 34 points.
Men’s All-Conference honors went to the Distance Medley Relay team of Collin Kern (‘20), Vinnie Joseph (‘23), Andrew Millán (‘20), and Ian Kelly (‘23), who finished second in the event. Their time places them eighth all-time. Kelly also added a third place finish in the mile.
The Women’s Distance Medley Relay team of Amelia Hornseth (‘21), Katie Saner (‘23), Rose Sieve (‘23), and Stephanie Lewis (‘23) earned All-Conference honors for their third place finish, and Vera Lindhorst (‘20) added another third place finish in the 5000 meters. Her time ranked fourth all-time in Luther women’s indoor track and field history.
According to the Assistant Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Coach Doreen Fullhart, most of the indoor season has been focused on performing well at the conference meet.
“When we are training, the amount of reps we do and the amount of preparation leads towards this meet,” Fullhart said. “When we’re preparing, we’re doing higher intensity and less volume, so we are really peaked for this meet. For other meets, we are going to go, and we are going to compete hard, but with the realization that it’s a process. Sometimes we are competing when we have a lot of work under our belt, so our bodies might not be primed for it, but for this one we are primed and peaked.”
Kern, a co-captain on the team, emphasized how crucial the team’s performance at the indoor conference meet is going into the outdoor season.
“At conference our goal is to win,” Kern said. “It’s not enough to just have a good time. Typically we’re going for place but everyone is there to run and get good times for [outdoor] conference, so you get into a good heat.”
Times at this meet are used to determine seeding for the ARC’s Outdoor Championships in May.
On top of preparing for the meet physically, team co-captain Nana Asante-Apeatu (‘20) underlined the importance of healthy stress, and how key it is to performing well.
“I used to be extremely nervous and that would affect me,” Asante-Apeatu said. “Am IgoingtorunmybestraceoramInot? I use the nerves to feed me, because the adrenaline works magic.”
He finished 12th in the 55-yard dash, with a time of 6.71 seconds.
The Director of Women’s Track and Field and Cross Country Yarrow Pasche has focused on harnessing that stress to bring more out of her athletes.
“The emotional investment that it takes to perform at a really high level and asking the most of yourself is really high,” Pasche said. “Helping people recognize [stress and anxiety] that so they can use it to their advantage versus being overcome by it and paralized by it, is an important aspect.”
With all the work that goes into a conference meet, Pasche thinks that the team atmosphere does a lot to help as well. Fred Farrand (‘22), a distance runner on the team expressed how his teammates pick him up after a tough race.
“It’s going to hurt, just accepting that and also trusting my training and remembering that this is just for fun,” Farrand said. “I want to push myself, and I know my teammates are going to support me if I run fast or run slow.”
Farrand finished 20th in the 3000 meter run with a final time of 9:11.48.
According to Pasche, they are teaching these athletes skills that can be applied to academics as well.
“It’s healthy to find a balance in our life, and as students can get really absorbed and consumed by their academic needs,” Pasche said. “Time in front of our computer, time in front of books, time in the lab, time in the library – that can overwhelm us, and we
become less productive because of it. Setting aside a time where you can do something vastly different to let your mind relax and let your body engage in something I think is really valuable.”
Pasche further detailed the administrative challenges that Luther track and field faced this past season. When the previous head coach left in the fall, Yarrow and her husband Steve Pasche took over the head coaching roles after 15 years of distance coaching experience at Luther. The challenge after that was finding assistant coaches to handle the more specialized field events, who also blended well with the team and the culture that they want to build.
“We feel super blessed to have hired [Loran Storts (‘87) and Fullhart] because they have a lot of energy and expertise,” Pasche said. “I think they speak to our philosophy and what it is here at Luther really well. As a female coach I think it’s pretty exciting and supportive to our sport to have another female coach on staff like [Fullhart], especially in the throws, which is often a male dominated venue,” Pasche said. “I think she is bringing great things to our student athletes and to our sport in general.”
Luther’s outdoor track season for the Men’s and Women’s teams starts Apr. 4 at the Cornell Invitational in Mount Vernon, Iowa.