In a season plagued by bad weather, practicing for outdoor sports has definitely been a bit more difficult.

“We’re so fortunate to have the indoor facility we have. We’ve been able to train inside, but it’s also really hard. For example, with the 4x100m handoffs, you really need to know the markings and curvature of the outdoor track, and we’ve mostly been working on the indoor track,” said assistant coach Jennifer Jacobsen ’95.

Nora Brusette Buccino ’16 competes in the hurdles Saturday at Central in Pella.
Photo by Alysia Horcher

The team has maintained an upbeat sense of morale and enthusiasm despite the awkward training adjustments.

“It’d just be very nice to be able to train for our outdoor events on our actual outdoor track,” Jacobsen said.

Weather wasn’t an issue during the Florida training trip during Spring Break, where plenty of sun and good training led to some great performances by the Pioneers at the Walt Disney World Invitational, with first place finishes by Alison Bayly ’15, Elsa Goldman ’15, Eloise Miller ’15, Diana Seer ’15, Luis Hernandez ’15, and Nate Kolacia ’16. The training focused on building strength and endurance while continuing to stress basic skills, which can easily affect a race, particularly relays.

“We’re good at fundamentals, so we get far just by holding onto our batons,” Jacobsen said.

The team has continued to perform increasingly well as the season has continued.

“We just ran at Central this past weekend, and came away with a boatload of personal records,” Jacobsen said.

The Pioneers have seen steady improvements in many of their performances throughout the season, and hope to peak at Conference or beyond.

Three weekends of competition remain for the Pioneers this season. This weekend includes a few events at the Drake Relays and a meet at Simpson, both of which should provide the team with good opportunities to compete and continue to improve. The following weekend will see the team travel to Monmouth College to compete in the final meet before Conference. Finally, the team will head to Beloit for the 2013 Midwest Conference Outdoor Championships. Despite tough competition from Monmouth and other conference schools, the Pioneers should be able to produce some impressive performances.

“[Last year] we had our season-best performances at the Conference meet. We’re looking forward to that again, and when you have that expectation, it’s easier for that to happen,” Jacobsen said.

After performing at Conference, some of the team may have an opportunity to compete on the national level at the Division III Track Nationals Meet in late May. Jacobsen named a few possible contenders:  Eloise Miller ’15 in triple jump and long jump, Gavin Warnock ’14 in long jump, the women’s 4x400m relay team, Isabelle Miller ’13 in hurdles, Frank Canady ’14 in the 10k, Diana Seer ’15 in steeplechase, and more. With the end of season coming closer and closer, the Pioneers are on track to finish strong.