In their last meet before hosting the Midwest Conference (MWC) Championships, the Prairie Fire accomplished what they had hoped to: improve times and get some much-needed rest.
“Our athletes really set themselves up well for conference,” said junior Bill Schaefer. “We rested those with minor and nagging injuries.”
Those who opted for a tune-up rather than a day off performed well. Junior Kevin Box led the Prairie Fire in the men’s one-mile, recording a season-best time of 4:39.39. Freshman Joe Puntoriero continued to impress, finishing fifth and sixth in the 200 and 400 respectively.
Schaefer, in just his second week running the 55-meter hurdles this season, set a personal best in the finals. After squeaking into the finals with a time of 8.52, Schaefer moved up two spots by running an 8.43 in the finals, good for a sixth place finish.
“It was definitely the race I needed to run as a good tune-up for next weekend,” said Schaefer. “After struggling all season with the back injury and being unable to do hurdles, it feels like bliss to be back. I feel more confident and focused than ever before.”
On the women’s side, junior Claire Knowlton took seventh in the 55-meter hurdles. Freshman Lizzy Warner placed fourth in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:03.64. Senior Christina Davis, though not at her record-setting pace from earlier in the season, took eighth in the weight throw.
“Since we rested a lot of people this past weekend, we should be well-rested for Friday and Saturday,” said Schaefer. “We’re going to be focusing at practice on low repetition, speed-intensive workouts to allow some rest for the weekend as well.”
Having emphasized all season the advantage of hosting the conference tournament, co-head coaches Dan Zierfuss and Patrick Irwin will be expecting big things from their athletes.