Just two weeks into the track and field season, the Prairie Fire are already seeing times drop.
At last Saturday’s unscored Midwest Indoor Invitational in Monmouth, Ill., the Prairie Fire competed against powerhouses Monmouth College, Augustana College and Illinois Wesleyan, and head coach Dan Zierfuss was pleased with his team’s showing against such stiff competition.
“I’m happy with how we competed,” Zierfuss said. “Running against some of the best [NCAA Division III] schools in the area, we definitely had some good performances.”
Freshman Aramis McGinty finished seventh in the 55 meter dash with a time of 6.83 seconds. McGinty’s time was just .05 off his performance at last week’s Knox Invitational. Fellow freshman Gabe Moreno competed in just one event, the men’s 5000 meter run, finishing with a time of 15:52.12, good for second place. Moreno’s performance put him in eighth-place all-time in Prairie Fire history. Freshman Matt Brongo stood out again, finishing fifth in the men’s 800 meter run with a time of 2:03.99.
On the women’s side, junior Laura Johnson finished sixth in the pole vault with a mark of 7’ 8 ½”. Johnson moved into fourth place all-time on the school’s top ten individual list. Sophomore Glyniss Boney moved into tenth all-time on the individual weight throw list with a distance of 30’ 3 ½”.
The women’s 4×400 relay team improved greatly on their time from the opening weekend. After finishing last with a time of 4:42.52 at the Knox Invitational, they finished sixth of nine teams with a time of 4:32.96.
Others improved upon their times at the Knox Invitational as well, including senior Claire Knowlton, who shaved over half a second off her time in the 55 meter hurdles. Only two weekends in, Knox’s runners are expecting their times to come down further as the season wears on.
“We are a little rusty,” junior Kristi Weller said, “because your practices don’t catch up with you until about two weeks later.”
After just two meets, coach Zierfuss is already trying to mix up the team’s training and practices to accommodate the season’s inevitable wear-and-tear.
“We’ve definitely got some people banged up right now,” Zierfuss said. “We’re doing some cross-training in the pool, mixing it up a little. We’re definitely monitoring some people.”
The Prairie Fire will head to Bloomington, Ill. on Saturday for the Titan Open, hosted by Illinois Wesleyan. Knox will be joined by Midwest Conference foe Illinois College in Bloomington. Against stiffer competition, Zierfuss is taking a slightly different approach to this weekend’s meet.
“My goal for this weekend is that we leave feeling good about ourselves,” Zierfuss said. “We’re not going to run people in tons of events. We want them to have a more individual focus […] We are basically viewing this as a quality event over a quantity event.”
Events at the Titan Open will begin at 10 a.m. The Prairie Fire return home for the Knox Pentangular on Feb. 12.