Personal records fall early for track teams

April 1 marked the second meet of the outdoor track and field season. Coming out strong, both the men’s and women’s teams took third place at the Wartburg Select outdoor meet. Both teams finished behind Wartburg, who hosted the meet, and UNI’s track club team.

The meet started out on a high note with a Loras record-break right off the bat. Senior Emily Day ran a personal best in her first 3000-meter steeplechase of the season, easily winning the race and shattering her previous record with a time of 11:37.05. The morning was cold for the inevitable steeplechase water jumps, but Day persevered without any trouble.

“During the race, I felt smooth and was focusing on my form, as well as trying to keep pushing hard the second half of the race,” Day said. “It was good to get a race under my belt and it definitely gave me confidence for the rest of the season.”

Junior Kelly Minear followed close behind, taking second place behind Day with a lifetime PR of 11:51.96, which is the fourth best time in program history. First year Molly MacDuff not only completed her first ever steeplechase, but did so with flying colors, running a time of 13:10.63 that made the top 10 all-time list as the 10th fastest time. This was the first steeplechase race of their season, and their early success is giving these Duhawks confidence for the rest of the season and the additional steeple races to come.

“I have a lot of things to improve on going forward, but it was great being able to see where I’m at, fitness-wise, right now,” Day said. “I am excited for the rest of the season and ready to see how fast I can go by the end of it!”

First-year Patrick Mikel also had an incredible day, running a time of 48.21 in the 400 meter dash to win the event and place his time as the third best in Loras history. He also helped his 4×400 team of junior Kylian Lally, senior Brandon Gradoville, and first-year Shamari Scott to a win with a time of 3:17.96 that placed them 5th in the country. Towards the end of the meet, junior duo Mason Tope and Timothy Sevick ran an exciting race, with both men breaking 15 minutes in the 5,000 meter run. Sevick ran a lifetime PR of 14:59.35, putting him at second place in the race. Tope’s time of 14:59.06 not only won him first place, but also secured him a spot on the top-10 fastest men’s 5k times in Loras history with the 10th fastest time.

In the D3 national rankings at this early point in the season, we have plenty of Duhawks ranked within the elite of their events. With his victory in the 400m dash, Mikel is currently third in the country in the men’s 400.

Along with Mikel, Lally also emerged victorious in the men’s 800 and is currently ranked seventh in the country.

First-year Elyse Acompanado is currently fifth in the country in the women’s long jump, and both 4×400 relay teams are represented in the top 20 of their event, with the men’s relay ranked fifth and the women’s team ranked third. Although the season is still young, there is a bright future ahead for our track and field season!

“We never know what we’re going to get for weather,” distance coach Bob Schultz said during the team’s Monday meeting after the Wartburg meet, referring to some of the less-than-ideal weather conditions for practice and competition that the team has experienced during this outdoor season, “but (everyone) has done a great job taking advantage of the nice weather, even though the training is hard and our legs are tired.”

Next weekend, the team will travel to Mount Vernon, IA, to kick off spring break with the Cornell Invitational on Saturday, April 8.

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