Sports / The Prairie Fire / April 13, 2011

Outdoor track holds own against stiff competition

Last weekend, Knox’s men’s and women’s outdoor track and field teams traveled to Macomb, Ill. for Western Illinois University’s Lee Calhoun Invite. The men’s team finished in 12th place of 16 teams. The women’s team did not place.

Freshman Gabe Moreno led the men’s team, finishing third in the men’s 10,000 meter run and earning Knox four points. Moreno’s time of 33:08.54 bested his seedtime by over 20 seconds and moved him within ten seconds of the leading conference time in 2011. His performance also put him fifth on Knox’s all-time top 10 list.

Sophomores Sean Choate and Jacob Buddell finished fourth and fifth in the event, respectively.

Head coach Dan Zierfuss was pleased with their performances. “They ran great Friday night,” Zierfuss said. “It’s definitely a strong showing heading into the season for them.”

Sophomore Joe Puntoriero finihed 10th in the long jump with a distance of 20′ 10 3/4″, putting him ninth on Knox’s all-time individual performance list in the event. Senior Courtney Jude finished in 14th place.

On the women’s side, the 4×100 relay team of senior Claire Knowlton, junior Kristi Weller, sophomore Sara Brown and freshman Yetunde Durotoye finished in eleventh place. Their time of 51.97 seconds was just .6 seconds from Knox’s mark at last year’s conference championship.

Freshman Catie McLaughlin finished 16th in the javelin throw and 21st in the discus throw.

Overall, coach Zierfuss felt encouraged by his team’s showing against NCAA Division I schools. “The performances were outstanding,” Zierfuss said. “We really held our own in a lot of events and had a lot of top-ten performances. Two weeks into the season, I like where we are. We’ve just got to keep it going and keep getting better.”

Early in the season, the Prairie Fire have largely avoided the injury bug. Though junior co-captain Tony Sickley has missed time with injury, the team has remained relatively healthy.

“We’ve got some people nicked up,” Zierfuss said. “But we’ve been a little cautious this week, trying to back away from training and doing some recovery and rehab stuff in the fitness center and the swimming pool.”

This weekend, the men’s and women’s teams will head to the Millikin Invitational in Decatur, Ill. Events will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

Kevin Morris

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