Track-and-field team posts solid indoor season, look towards conference meet

Track-and-field team posts solid indoor season, look towards conference meet
A rundown of the past 7 competitions
Photos courtesy of Jim Naprstek/Loras College Athletics. Sophomore Shamari Scott strides ahead of other sprinters at the Warrior Invitational in Frostproof, FL.

The men and women of Duhawk track and field are off to an impressive start. The indoor season has been solid with top finishes for both individual athletes and the teams themselves. The Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship is set for this Friday, Feb. 23.

To kick off the indoor season, the Duhawks got out to a hot start at the Battle of the Bluff hosted by the University of Dubuque. With UD and Clarke the other schools in attendance, the Duhawk women got a first place finish, while the men finished in a close second.

Sophomore Gabrielle Noland marked the third-fastest 55m time in Loras history, while her 200m performance placed her in second in Division III. Additionally, junior Bella Solis won both the 400m, which landed her eighth in the nation, and the high jump, which tied the Loras all-time best. On the men’s side, senior Kylian Lally notched two wins. One in the 800m, and one in the 4x400m joined by sophomores Shamari Scott, Tyson Morrison and Patrick Mikel, marking the eighth fastest time in Division III.

Junior Molly Walkner puts in her final burst of energy at the Jan 27 meet.

The Duhawks headed back to UD for the Sol Butler Classic. Their performances resulted in a first place finish for the women and a second place finish for the men. The women won five events, including a strong showing from senior Kelly Minear, who won the mile, and sophomore Terrianna Black, who won the women’s long jump. On the men’s side, there were three event wins, including another first place win from Kylian Lally in the 1,000m.

The Duhawks then hit the road to Monmouth. Noland, fresh from her Iowa Conference Performer of the Week award, notched two first place finishes in both the 60m and 200m. Sophomore Taylor Dooley showed up big in the pole vault, claiming another victory for the Duhawks. For the men, Mikel won the 200m, recording the 17th fastest time in Division III. Senior Garrett Hammond added his weight throw to the list of national placements as he posted the 20th best toss in Division III. The men’s 4×400 team ran lights out, finishing second at the meet and third in Division III.

After spending some time in the sun, the Duhawks competed in the Warrior Invite hosted by Webber International University in Florida. The Duhawks notched 10 individual wins, and swept the 600m, 1,000m, and shot put events. Junior Allie Serres and Lally swept the 600m invite, while junior Molly Walkner and Lally swept the 1,000m. The Duhawks won three of their four throwing events as well, with junior Jake Berg placing first in shot put, Anna Hedges finishing first in the weight throw and Garrett Hammond leading the field in the weight throw.

Back in the Midwest, the Duhawks traveled to Bloomington, IL, to compete in the Keck Invite. The men and women combined for four individual titles and one relay title. As a team, the men finished in a solid third place, while the women finished in a close fourth. Noland won both the 60m and 200m races. Her 60m performance placed her ninth in Division III. On the men’s side, Mikel ran the eighth-fastest time in Division III in the 400m, while Gerrand Moody broke his own school record in the 60m hurdles.

Closer to home, the Duhawk squad posted wins on both the men’s and women’s side at the Platteville Invitational. The Duhawks swept the relays and had some outstanding individual performances as well. Mikel was out in full force, breaking a school record that had previously stood for 20 years in the 200m. The men’s 4×200 notched the fourth best time in school history, enough to beat the field at Platteville. The Loras women took home victories in both the 4×200 and the 4×400, with the 4×200 time ranking eighth in Loras history.

This past weekend, the Duhawks returned to the University of Dubuque for the third time this season for the Spartan Invite. The meet was good to the Duhawks as the women walked away with a second place finish, while the men placed fourth. Mikel, after running a school-best 200m, went out and ran the 14th fastest time in the 400m in Division III. His performance continued as he took part in the 4×400 alongside Scott, Tyson Morrison, and Evan Gradoville. Their time is third best in school history and third in Division III currently. Noland continued her winning streak as well, winning her fifth 200m out of five starts. Elyse Acompanado leaped her way to a win in the women’s long jump as well.

“It’s been a good start to the season,” Coach Bob Schultz said. “Things are picking up, especially the past couple weekends.”

Standout performances from individuals such as Noland and Mikel, whom have been multi-week IIAC track athletes of the week and rank towards the top of the nation in their respective events, continue to push the pace for a rather impressive Duhawk squad as they begin to wrap up the indoor season.

This year’s Indoor Track and Field Championships will be hosted by Central College in Pella, IA. Events begin this Friday, Feb. 23. Look for continued top-shelf performances from multiple Duhawk athletes as the men and women reach for the top spot in the conference.

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Aaron Broege is a sports writer for The Lorian.

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