This past weekend, hundreds of students from dozens of schools flocked to Grinnell College to compete in the annual Dick Young Classic. This track and field meet, like most years past, was the only home meet for the Pioneers, and they made sure to take advantage of it.
“I thought that everyone did great as a whole,” said Ethan Heppner ’11. “There were some personal records that were smashed.”
Overall, the women finished hard with 58 points, placing them fourth out of 14 teams. As a team the men finished with 56 points and garnered fifth place out of the 16-team field. The women produced two event champions, Becky Bessinger ’09 and Curran Johnson ’09. Bessinger won the 3000-meter steeplechase with a time of 11 minutes, 56.55 seconds.
“The race went pretty well,” Bessinger said. “It went better than I expected it would, that was pretty sweet.”
Also placing first for the women’s team was Johnson in the high jump with a leap of 5 feet, 1 3/4 inches. In the pole vault Anna Gilbert ’09 finished second with a height of 9-6 1/4. Johnson was pleased with her success at the meet despite her inexperience.
“I didn’t compete before this season,” Johnson said. “It was my second best height.”
On the men’s side, three Pioneers placed third in their respective events—Joey Snyder ’10 in the javelin with a toss of 179 feet—6 inches, Mike Hargadine ’09 with a jump of 13-11 ¼ in the pole vault and Heppner’s 10k with a time of 32:41.10.
“I’m glad that I got the experience of racing in a 10k before going on to conference,” Heppner said. “I made a couple of mistakes in the first two miles going too slow but on the whole I was pleased with my race.”
But Heppner wasn’t the only one satisfied by the Dick.
“All across the board we had solid performances,” said runner Chris Wilson ’11. “We had guys do good in javelin, 200m, steeple, 10k, and Nick Sparr [’09] had a great double in the 1500 and the 5k.”
But some of the best performances of the day by the Pioneers were not easily noticeable on paper. In the 800-meter run, Leah Russell ’11 shattered her personal record with a time of 2:22.28 to finish eighth.
“I ended up running four seconds faster than my previous best time,” said Russell. “It was really good.”
In the 1500-meter run, Wilson ran a time 4:05.37, milliseconds behind Sparr who had a time of 4:05.01.
“It was a lot better than I ran all season outdoors,” Wilson said. “If you convert the time into indoor length, it was the fastest time that I have ever run.”
With the Dick Young Classic over, the teams will compete in two more meets before competing in the Midwest Conference Championships.
“If you look at the conference website right now, we have a lot of guys in the top five of many events,” Wilson said. “We are encouraged, we can improve on our fifth place performance from [the MWC Indoor Track and Field Championships] because we pick up a couple [outdoor] events, and if you look at the spread, there was only a few-point difference between second and fifth place.”