After a strong finish to the indoor season, it was time to start all over again — this time outdoors.
The Knox College men’s and women’s track and field teams began their outdoor season at home last Saturday with the Knox Invite.
“The transition from indoor to outdoor can be a bit of a struggle,” said co-head coach Dan Zierfuss. “But I think we picked it up pretty quickly.”
Athletes from Western Illinois University, Ashford University, St. Ambrose University and Eureka College came to Trevor Field for the season’s inaugural event. Team scores were not kept, but individual events were scored.
As was the case for much of the indoor season, the Prairie Fire’s youngest talent shined.
On the women’s side, freshman Sara Brown and sophomore Kristi Weller continued their strong performance from the indoor season, finishing second and third in the 100-meter dash. In the 200-meter, Weller finished third with Brown in fourth.
In the 400-meter dash, freshman Lizzy Warner took second, with sophomore Laura Mills finishing fourth.
The distance group performed strongly as well, with junior Chloe Bohm finishing second in the 800-meter run. Freshman Anna Novikova ran a 5:56.28 in the 1500-meter run, good for second place.
Senior Christina Davis continued her strong performance from indoor, nearly breaking the school record in the hammer throw with a toss of 36.38 meters. Davis finished sixth.
On the men’s side, fellow senior Adam Kent led the way. Kent, a senior from Lake Stevens, Wash., nearly broke his own school record in the hammer throw, recording a distance of 44.24 meters.
“Both of them were great,” Zierfuss said. “I’m confident that both of them will break the records soon.”
Senior Ryan Maniscalco finished second in the men’s 1500 meter run, while freshman Joe Puntoriero took first in the 400-meter dash and second in the 200-meter.
Despite some individual highlights, many athletes on the team knew it was not their strongest performance.
“We have people who didn’t perform as well as they should have,” Zierfuss said. “And they knew it. But they weren’t complacent, they were upset with how they performed and we like to see that.”
Some of the struggles can be attributed to the short transition, as well as a hangover from a successful outdoor season.
“We only had a week and a half of practice,” Zierfuss said. “We need more time to train, more time spent working on things. We know we have a lot of work to do, but the expectations are the same as they were during outdoor season.”
After a relatively small first meet, the Prairie Fire will travel to Macomb, Ill. for Western Illinois University’s Jim Calhoun Invite. With stiffer competition and a much larger pool of teams, the Prairie Fire will try to maintain a steady focus.
“Some things don’t change,” Zierfuss said. “We still expect people to not settle performance-wise and always strive to be better.”