Track & Field cleans up at Iowa Conference Indoor Championship

This past weekend, the men’s and women’s track and field team competed in the Iowa Conference Championship meet For the women’s team, they shined with a second place finish. The men’s team struggled on day one of the meet, and they finished one point out of third place.

Regardless, Coach Matthew Jones thought his athletes competed well over the two days.

“The women had a very good weekend,” he said, “and would have been an even better second place if Audrey Miller didn’t get sick after the 5K.”

First year Audrey Miller was seeded high in the mile and the 3K, but she took home the Conference champion title in the 5K Friday Night. Sophomore Kelly Minear surprised everyone by finishing second, and junior Emily Day took eighth, giving the Duhawks a 19 point event for the 5K.

“Kelly Minear gave us a huge boost on Friday night placing second,” Jones said, “and she wasn’t supposed to score.”

Minear wasn’t the only one to step up and score out of nowhere.

“Anna Hedges and Sarah Schoel both also scored, and ‘on paper’ weren’t supposed to. Everything just continued to go well throughout the weekend,” Jones said.

Although the second place finish seemed to surprise some, Jones had no doubts especially after day one.

“We knew that Central would be a tough team to pass.” But the women’s team had a lot of Conference Champions and All-Conference finishes.

Juniors Elizabeth Brandenburg and Amy Gladis took first and third in the Pole Vault, and after weeks of getting close, Brandenburg finally broke the indoor record with her vault of 3.76 meters. Brandenburg and junior Audrey Hooks went 1-2 in the 60 meter hurdles. First year Allie Serres took third in the 800. All the relays earned All-Conference honors with the Distance Medley, 4×200, and 4×400 placing third. The 4×800 relay instead were Conference Champions.

Senior Bree Powers was the final individual who earned All-Conference honors by taking second in the 60 meter dash. Out of all the top performers for the Duhawks, she is the only senior amongst the group. This has Jones hopeful for the future.

“Bree Powers is a very talented sprinter for us, and she will be deeply missed. But in the big team picture, it’s exciting to know that everyone else is coming back.”

On the other side of the meet, the men struggled out of the gates.

“The men didn’t have a great night on Friday night and even the start of Saturday morning. They kept fighting and somehow ended up being a point out of third place. I hope that our men can use that as motivation to dig a little deeper for the outdoor season,” Jones said.

That being said, the men came through in a handful of events over the weekend. Sophomore Mason Tope took third in the 5K. Senior Keontae Neely took third in the Triple Jump. Sophomore Gerrand Moody rounded out the top three in the 60 meter hurdles.

Junior Brandon Gradoville took second in the 400 while senior Stedman Foster finished third right behind him. Senior Zach Frey continues to drop time in the 800 running a 1:52.30, which earned him the first place finish in the 800 and the school record by 0.08 seconds. Finally, the Distance Medley took second place while the 4×400 closed out Conference as the Champions.

“They need to dig deep and continue to fight,” Jones said of the men’s team. For the women’s team, he said, “they can’t become complacent.”

Overall, Jones is very happy with the season.

“(Both teams) have grown and developed a lot since we first started — honestly, more than what we normally do throughout the course of an indoor season — so that is very exciting, but we’ve got work to do after the Indoor Division III National Championships.”

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