Teamwork makes the dream work

By Marion Edwards

Two days of intense competition had no weight on the motivation and power of the women and men’s Loras track and field teams. Thursday February 27 through Saturday, February 29, the Duhawks competed at the American Rivers Conference (A-R-C) Championship at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. 

The women’s team secured a second-place finish at the A-R-C Championship scoring 174 points while the men’s team won team title honors, Loras’ first A-R-C Championship win since 2007, according to Emily Adlfinger, Director of Athletic Communications. Along with many great performances, the Duhawks swept the conference “Most Valuable Player” honors. Seniors Terrianna Black, Patrick Mikel, and juniors Kassie Rosenbum, Ryan Rogers, not only received conference honors, but scored big points for the Duhawks. 

As a sophomore in high school, Rosenbum began to run track and field, which she believes has helped shape her into not only the runner but the person she is today. “A lot of my mentality comes through confidence that I’ve put in the hard work. Distance competing is hard. There can be good days and then there can always be bad days, but overcoming the bad days and believing in myself comes to be important” Rosenbum said. She competed in all three of the women’s distance events winning the mile with a time of 5:04.75, the 3,000 meter run (10:13.22), and the 5,000 meter run (17:25.88). “Winning each of the three races at conference was a great moment for me as I was running them. I felt a strong sense of confidence and strength in all three events while being close to my personal best. To me, the races showed my strength, hard work, and my passion for running and I’m so grateful for having great teammates to support me and cheer me on as I’m running these events”. 

As Head Track and Field Coach Matt Jones recalls some of his favorite moments of the meet, one of them was watching Rosenbum in the homestretch of the 3k. “The next was Kassie pulling off the distance triple.  I don’t think you can underestimate how impressive it is for an individual to accomplish that feat” Jones said. “To turn around the next morning, shift gears into the mile (it was the 2nd fastest time she’s ever run and came down the homestretch with a smile on her face) was a great way for her to begin the day.”

Junior Ryan Rogers competed to win the pole vault with a height of 14’6.75″, the long jump with a leap of 23 feet, 5.50 inches, and the 55-meter hurdles setting a personal best time of 7.63. Beginning his journey in track and field in the 7th grade, Rogers found a passion for the sport and a love for working hard to be the best. “I had no intent at winning all three, but I’m thankful that I was able to! My goal was to compete hard, and try to finish around where I was seeded in that event and score points” Rogers said. “In each of the three events, everything was going my way and I just tried to ride the wave of momentum, along with the help of my teammates cheering me on”. In addition to winning all three events, Rogers was picked as co-MVP of the meet alongside teammate Patrick Mikel on the men’s side. “The men’s long jump competition was awesome!  Ryan Rogers leaped to a new personal best on his last attempt, a mark that would end up holding on to win the conference title” Jones said.

Recalling some of his favorite moments in the meet Jones discusses Black’s performances in the field events. “One of my favorite moments from this past weekend had to be Terrianna Black winning her first Conference Title ever on Friday night in the long jump.  Following it up with an even better performance on Saturday winning the triple jump and setting a new school record in the process” Jones said. In the long jump with a leap of 18 feet, 2.50 inches, Black placed first ranking her second in the Loras program top-ten list. “It’s hard to believe that it’s her first conference title in her career, it speaks to the depth and talent in our conference, I’m proud of her for continuing to work and improve” Jones said.  Alongside winning the three field events, she placed second in the 55-meter dash with a time of 7.13 alongside teammate Gabrielle Noland who placed first in the dash.

Senior Patrick Mikel ran in a total of 6 events in the course of two days consisting of the 55m prelim, 400 leg of the DMR on Friday, 55 final, 400, 200, and 4×400 meter relay. Mikel won the 200 with a time of (21.74) and the 400 meter-dash with a time of 47.90 setting two new school and conference records. Mikel also brought home all-conference honors in the 55-meter dash, placing second with a time of 6.49 seconds and ran on two conference champion relays in the distance medley relay (10:20.63) and 4-by-400-meter relay (3:19.68) stated by Adlfinger. “One of my favorite moments on the men’s side happened before we even started competition.  When we were discussing our entries for the Conference Meet. Patrick Mikel told me he would be “bored” if he only ran the 55m prelims on Friday night and he wanted to do everything he could to win a Conference team Championship” Jones said. “He won every race except taking a .03 second loss to teammate Josh Smith in the 55 final. He ran PR’s in the 55, 200 & 400. The 400 & 200 were not only all-time conference records, but both are the fastest times in the country. Safe to say, he deserved the MVP.”

As some Duhawks prepare for Nationals in North Carolina, others prepare for the incoming outdoor season. “Honestly, I’m looking for our team to stay hungry and not to be complacent with what we did this year at indoor conference” Jones said. “We still have big plans next week in North Carolina at the NCAA’s as well. Optimistically, hoping for a really nice Spring and some good weather to train and race in!” 

The Duhawks will compete next at the NCAA Division III Indoor National Championships in Winston-Salem, North Carolina hosted at the JDL Fast Track. 

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