Halfway through the outdoor track and field season, the Prairie Fire traveled to Dubuque, Iowa for the Loras Open. Facing less-than-ideal weather conditions, the Prairie Fire continued their steady improvement.
The women’s 4×400 relay team led the way this past Saturday, shaving five seconds off their best time. Using a new lineup, the Prairie Fire finished second behind Monmouth College with a time of 4:17.96.
“We put [junior] Emma Swanson in the lineup leading off, and she ran very well,” co-head coach Dan Zierfuss said. “Right now, they are fourth in the conference. We were chasing Monmouth the whole race, right behind them and I was pleased to see that.”
Freshman Lizzy Warner, sophomore Laura Mills and junior Chloe Bohm joined Swanson in the 4×400. Swanson also took fourth in the women’s 400-meter hurdles.
“Both Emma and junior Claire Knowlton did really well in both hurdles races,” Zierfuss said.
Knowlton, a junior from Westlake, Ohio, took tenth and eleventh in the 100-meter and 400-meter hurdles respectively.
On the men’s side, freshman Joe Puntoriero continued his solid season, qualifying for the finals in the 100 meter dash and taking eighth overall. Fellow freshman Jake Swider-Rogers also qualified for the finals, finishing sixth.
While the track events were largely unaffected by the poor weather, the field events did not go as smoothly.
“The weather was really tough for the field events,” Zierfuss said. “Throwing didn’t go well and I know people were disappointed in their performances. But it was tough with the weather. I had to sit them down and tell them that they can only do so much on days like that.”
With only two events remaining before conference, the team’s focus is sharpening as they evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.
“We need these last two to be tune-up meets, and our athletes know that,” Zierfuss said.
“When you get down to only a couple competitions, improvement is key. We need to better our seed times and marks. It’s a critical time.”