Starting the season at home can have its advantages. This past Saturday, the men and women’s indoor track teams kicked off their seasons at the Knox Pentangular at the T. Fleming Fieldhouse.
Joined by Iowa Wesleyan, St. Ambrose, Cornell, and Monmouth, the Prairie Fire competed in 15 events. Finishing fourth, the women’s team placed ahead of Iowa Wesleyan, while the men’s team finished fifth.
Senior Adam Kent, defending Midwest Conference champion in the men’s weight throw, finished third in the event last Saturday with a throw of 15.15 meters.
“It certainly wasn’t a career best, school-record performance by Adam,” said co-head coach Patrick Irwin. “But it was a great start to the season for him to build on.”
Also on the men’s side, freshman Joseph Puntoriero finished fifth in the long jump, just .09 meters behind the second-place finisher.
For the women, freshman Sara Brown and sophomore Kristi Weller qualified for the finals in the 55-meter dash, with Brown finishing third and Weller fifth.
“They were really close time-wise,” Irwin said. “Coach Zierfuss and I were both very pleased to see them running as strongly as they did.”
Brown also placed fifth in the 200-meter dash. Junior Tanya Novotnak also performed strongly, placing seventh in the women’s one-mile run with a time of 5:57.
Having started the season in such a casual environment, both teams will face a challenge this weekend at the Monmouth Invitational.
“We really just want to continue building,” Irwin said. “Monmouth offers a few different events that aren’t typical for a college meet and gives us the opportunity to plug athletes in different areas and see how they perform in events they aren’t accustomed to.”
After a small field of teams at the Knox Pentangular, Monmouth will also offer the chance to see a larger pool and higher quality of competition.
“The caliber strength will be stronger,” Irwin said. “We’ll definitely challenge ourselves and need to build on strong performances. But we’re of the belief that strong competition will breed strong performances.”