Track and field races to the finish

Track and field races to the finish
photo by Loras College Athletics

In the final meet of the season for most of the track and field team, the Duhawks defended their Rock Bowl last Friday night with outstanding performances in the heat and under the lights.

On the track for the women, senior Bree Powers took first place in the 200 meter dash with the time of 24.79, with the wind at her back. First-years Allie Serres and Kemunto Ondande went 1-2 in the 800 meter run. The duo competed strong with Allie leading the whole race. Their times were 2:20.10 and 2:24.37, respectively. Ondande also took third place in the 1500 meter run with a PR of 4:52.12. Junior Audrey Hooks leads the Conference in the 100 meter hurdles with her preliminary heat performance of 14.44, and she went on to win the finals.

Also shining on the track was junior Alexis Hanson, but her performances were cut short after an injury in the 400 meter dash. Hanson competed in the 4×100 relay with Powers, Simon, and sophomore Rachel Kilburg. They posted their fastest time of the season at 48.28 and are currently ranked third in the Iowa Conference. Then, she took first in the 400 but felt some pain after the race.

“I hurt my hamstring during the 400m, so I did not compete in the 200 or 4×400 relay like I was supposed to,” said Hanson.

“Although this occurred, I ran a season PR in the open 400 and broke 58 for the first time in an open since the conference tournament last year.”

Even without her in the 4×400 relay, the Loras women took home the crown with the time of 3:56.82.

“I am so excited about what is in store for our women’s relay teams this year,” Hanson said. “Our 4×4 is still ranked 18th nationally, and I think we have a lot of time we can still drop… I’m also really excited for the 4×1 because that is a relay that sort of came out of nowhere this year.”

She’s excited because this relay is different from the past years.

“We are running way faster than any Loras team has in a long time, and I think we still have time to cut with perfecting our handoffs.” With her injury, Hanson said, “I’m mainly trying to focus on getting healthy. Everything this week has to be executed perfectly, from workouts to lifts to eating.”

However, she’s not shaken by the importance of Conference.

“Most importantly, I’m not placing too much pressure on this weekend and just going out and racing like I would any other meet.”

In the field events, junior Elizabeth Brandenburg took first in the pole vault with the height of 3.76 meters. Her teammate Amy Gladis tied for second but earned third by scratches with the height of 3.15 meters. Sophomore Alyssa Simon took third in the javelin throw with the distance of 31.78 meters.

First-year Anna Hedges also had some excellent performances just before the conference meet. Despite not placing in the top three in her events, she’s shown vast improvements in her events.

“This weekend, I had personal records in every throwing event,” Hedges said. “I had a 3-meter PR in the hammer throw, a 6-meter PR in the discus throw 0.2-meter PR in the shot put.”

Both the hammer throw (43.58 meters) and discus throw (36.09 meters) were lifetime PRs for her. Being a first year in college can change the entire training plan someone is used to, and Hedges was no exception.

“Now, I am in charge of when I practice. (Coach Stier) has it set up throughout the day where I can practice whenever it best fits into my personal schedule.” But that’s not all that changed. “At the beginning of track season, (Stier) and I decided it would benefit me best in the long run if I tried to throw in a completely different style. I have gone from gliding in shot put to rotation.”

With conference ahead of her this weekend, Hedges said, “This week, I am preparing for conference by perfecting all of my techniques in all my throws. I am going to make sure of that and be fully prepared to place high and score a lot of points at conference this weekend.”

For the men, most of them were sharpening their performances to top their showing at the indoor conference meet.  Senior Nick Ball took third in the 100 meter dash with the time of 11.11, nearly a lifetime PR. He also went on to land a huge PR (22.00 seconds) and a third place finish in the 200 meter dash.  Junior Brandon Gradoville solidified his lead in the Iowa Conference in the 400 with the win and time of 48.54. Sophomore Kylian Lally won the 800 with a time of 1:55.71 leading the field for almost 700 meters. Senior Sam Whan, junior Brien Nugent, and first-year Jack Carroll went 1-2-3 in the 1500. They dominated with their respective times of 4:00.27, 4:01.03, and 4:03.59. Senior Jake Brock took second in the 400 meter hurdles with a new PR of 54.75.

In the relays, the 4×100 consisting of Ball, Gradoville, sophomore Gerrand Moody, and senior Stedman Foster set a new seasonal best of 42.42. The 4×400 consisting of Foster, Gradoville, Brock, and Lally didn’t set a  better seasonal performance. However, they closed the night with the win and time of 3:17.03 and are expected to win at the conference meet this weekend.

In the field events senior Keontae Neely won the high jump with a PR of 1.95m. On top of that, he took third in the long jump with a jump of 6.51 meters as well as another third place finish in the triple jump, jumping 13.40 meters. Sophomore Hunter Dunlap and junior Nick Dreska went 2-3 in pole vault with heights of 4.21 meters and 4.06 meters. Dunlap is approaching his lifetime PR tied earlier this year during the indoor season and set last year before conference. Sophomore Andy Reed took second in javelin with a throw of 44.85 meters.

The Duhawks head to Waverly, IA, this weekend to compete at the Iowa Conference meet.

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