Last Saturday, Knox’s men’s and women’s track teams competed in their final home meet of the season, the Knox Open.
The Prairie Fire hosted athletes from Western Illinois, Beloit, Culver-Stockton and Eureka. No team scores were kept. Head coach Dan Zierfuss was pleased with the individual performances, however.
“Overall, the meet went fantastic,” Zierfuss said. “I was extremely pleased with how we performed as a team. We had 47 personal bests on the two combined teams. We had great performances across the board…jumps, throws, races, relays.”
On the men’s side, freshman Matt Brongo led the Prairie Fire, winning the 800 meter run and setting a personal best by over two seconds. Freshman Gabe Moreno won the 3000 meter run with a time of 9:13.72. The men’s 4×400 relay team was also victorious with a time of 3:33.94.
Junior Joe Puntoriero won the 200 meter dash with a time of 23.28 seconds. Junior Tony Sickley finished seventh in the shotput and ninth in the weight throw.
The women’s team was led by senior Chloe Bohm, who won the 800 meter run with a time of 2:26.43. Junior Emma Swanson finished just .28 seconds behind Bohm in second place. Freshman Yael Cody finished fifth in the one mile run.
In addition to the distance runners, Knox’s sprinters aksi performed well. Junior Kristi Weller and sophomore Sara Brown finished third and fourth respectively in the 55 meter dash. In the 200 meter dash, Brown finished fifth and Weller eighth.
Senior Claire Knowlton felt good about the team’s performance.
“It was a good place to be, two weeks from Conference…We’re still cleaning up some things, but we feel good,” she said.
With just one more meet before the Midwest Conference championship, Zierfuss is feeling confident about his team’s position.
“I’ve been very pleased with how the indoor season has gone,” Zierfuss said. “It’s been one of the best. Great attitude and atmosphere at practices and at meets. We definitely have to work on some areas, still, but we’re where I want us to be.”
The last meet before conference is especially crucial, as athletes are trying to improve their times and distances to better position themselves seed-wise.
“We definitely want to keep improving and get to where we want to be for conference,” Knowlton said. “We’re really trying to set ourselves, to get good seeds and get in the top five in conference. But we don’t feel comfortable; you can never feel too comfortable. You’re never sure what teams are going to do in the last week before conference.