By Brendan Ramirez
Second semester has just begun here at Grinnell College and with it comes the start of a new track and field season. Both the men and women’s teams had successful seasons last year and placed fifth at the Midwest Conference Championships. This year looks to be another promising one.
The teams did well last year in competition and the athletes had a strong team bond. This is a trend that many hope will continue.
“The team did a wonderful job supporting one another and everyone put in great efforts,” said thrower Kevin Pflaum ’13.
“I think we’re becoming a more athletic program, while remaining inclusive and accepting of a wide range of talent,” said distance runner and S&B Sports Editor Jacqui Vautin ’13.
Diana Seer ’15 has made the continuation of these strong bonds between teammates a goal for this season.
“A team goal that I hope to achieve this year is having a positive, tightly knit team that supports one another across events,” Seer said.
Pflaum has also made being a good teammate a goal of his for this year.
“My biggest goal is just to have fun and try and be a good teammate,” Pflaum said. “I want to do my part and make sure I can support everyone the best I can!”
With so much enthusiasm about camaraderie, the team will certainly be successful.
There will be some challenges for the Pioneers to face this year. The women’s team in particular lost many athletes from last year.
“Our junior class is a very large and talented class and most of them are abroad this semester, so that’s going to limit some of what we could do,” said Coach Evelyn Freeman.
However, there is still plenty of hope for the women’s team to have a productive season.
“[Losing the juniors] is going to hurt us a little bit, however we have a really good and large freshman class this year. And so we’re pretty excited,” Freeman said.
Vautin and Seer also commented on the talented first year class, whose job it will be to pick up some of the slack resulting from the juniors who are studying abroad.
“We have some quick first-year cross-country runners… who will hopefully help the team this year,” Vautin said.
“The first year class looks very strong all around. There are some sprinters that are showing lots of potential as well as a few jumpers and hurdlers,” Seer said. “Overall, the first years on the team are a force to be reckoned with.”
The men’s team is also excited about the new recruiting class.
This year the Pioneers will have three home meets; two during the indoor season and one during the outdoor season. The first is the ACM Invite at 10:00 a.m. on February 2. The next meet is the Darren Young Classic at 10:00 a.m. on February 9. The outdoor meet hosted by the Pioneers will be the Dick Young Classic at 8:00 a.m. on April 20. The meets will need volunteers to serve as officials, who will receive a free lunch and t-shirt.
“[The team] would also love it if people came and supported us at these meets. …I race the 10k and spectators help me so much,” Vautin said.