By Steve Yang
Grinnell track and field athletes are gearing up for the start of the outdoor season, which begins at the end of March. Coming off an indoor season that exhibited competitive experience and fantastic performances from many of its members, the Pioneers are looking forward to exceeding expectations, bringing home some medals for the Bear’s trophy cabinet.
Second-year runner Gwen Holtzman ’19 noted that she is particularly excited by the outdoor season because Grinnell’s program is designed to allow for peak performance during the outdoor conference championships.
“I think throughout outdoor, you really start to see people’s times drop as the training and lifting regime begins to set in,” Holtzman wrote in an email to The S&B.
Drastic and unexpected improvements for the team can take place in a relatively short gap between the indoor and outdoor season. Namely, there are new athletes transitioning out of their basketball and swim seasons, and new outdoor season-specific events like the hurdles and steeplechase come into play.
“For outdoor season, we do get a few additional athletes from winter sports like basketball and swimming, which really helps boost our team scores, especially in the jumping and throwing events,” Holtzman wrote. “I think looking back to our performance at indoor conference last weekend, we dominated in a lot of the distance events and I expect that we will continue to perform well in those areas (3k and 5K) throughout outdoors as well.”
For Lynn Nguyen ’20, a sprinter who focuses on short sprints and sprint relays and has already cemented her name in the top-ten list for the 60-meter dash, this outdoor season is an opportunity to make history at Grinnell, but also to just have fun with her team.
“I would like to achieve more Grinnell all-time top 10 performances in my events,” Nguyen wrote in an email to The S&B. “I really enjoy the opportunity to belong to a community and to feel like I play an important role. I like that everyone gets to compete.”
Sprinter Jonathan Braun ’17 hopes that both individual and combined efforts will help the Pioneers excel when it counts most, at the Midwestern Conference championships on May 12-13. He said that relays and individual events will be crucial for gaining points, and that strategic competition will be the key to beating the competition. To Braun, it’s about improving both as an individual athlete and as a part of a bigger whole.
“We can individually choose to put ourselves in events that help the team as a whole. For example, me doing something like the 400 hurdles is a strategic benefit for the team,” Braun said. “It’s really satisfying for me to be a part of a team, and to help my relay [team] get to the medal stand rather than just myself.”
The team hopes that more Grinnellians will come out and support them in their efforts, particularly at home meets like the Darren Young Classic. After all, the team is doing its best to represent the College proudly on both the track and the field, and to have fun while doing it. Jordan Maddaus ’19 recalled that on a recent trip to Golden Corral after indoor conference
championships, Coach Will Freeman exclaimed that, “There’s something here to satisfy everyone!” Coincidentally, that’s an apt description of Grinnell’s track and field team, and its upcoming events. The team’s first competition will be on Friday, March 31, at the Embry-Riddle Classic.