Track and field have had a successful outdoor season thus far. Coming off of a dynamic indoor season, the Prairie Fire have managed to carry that strength into the spring.
In the beginning of outdoor season, many meets were canceled due to bad weather. Junior Mario Whitley believes this was a difficult obstacle but the team still did their best.
“Considering the fact that a lot of the track meets have been canceled and/or we just had terrible conditions to compete in, we as a team are doing better than expected. We make do with what we’re given, and in the end that’ll only make us better,” Whitley said.
The track team has broken 67 records during the indoor season in all events. This will hopefully be taken into the outdoor season as well. Freshman Hunter Lee, who set the fourth place performance record for Knox in the high jump with a height of 6 foot 3.5 inches, says that being a part of the record-breaking program is really cool.
“The records are amazing. It is awesome to see someone break a record because they are now a part of Knox college track and field history. It is great to see the records being broken and it proves that the practices are making everyone better,” Lee said.
Lee was a component in the record setting for the 4×200 meter relay, the 4×400 meter relay and the distance medley relay. He helped the 4×200 meter relay team of junior Malik Hamilton, senior Donnye Sommerville and freshman Raph Adeyemi to achieve a first place time of 1:31.28 at the Midwest Conference indoor championships. He also helped a team of Sommerville, Hamilton and freshman Arthur Santoro achieve the first place record in the 4×400 meter relay with a time of 3:24.86 at the Pointer Last Chance meet.
The Fire have looked strong going into their preparations for the conference meet. Senior Caroline Hickey says that the mindset has been there all season, but when a meet this important is close, the team must prepare accordingly.
“We’ve been getting into the conference mindset all season. We train to peak for conference so our mentality is always focused on it. We’re currently starting to taper our practices so we’re in our best shape when the time comes,” Hickey said.
Hickey also helped achieve a Knox record this season for her performance with her relay team in the distance medley relay. The team of Hickey, senior Frankie Larsen, junior Meghan Dorsey and senior Rebecca Katz set the record with a time of 14:12.37 at the indoor Midwest Conference Championships.
Junior Kiana Arango says that the upcoming meet at Monmouth College will be a good step in preparations.
“The Monmouth meet this weekend will give us a better idea of what the competition will be like at conference and it will also allow us to get comfortable with the outdoor track so that we are better prepared,” Arango said.
Whitley says that the Monmouth meet will help the team, as the conference championships will be hosted there.
“Seeing as this past weekday meet was at Monmouth and this upcoming week is at Monmouth, I think that I’ll be more comfortable coming into the conference meet,” Whitley said. “Having a feel for the area you’re competing in can give you a bit of a edge over some of the competitors, it’s almost equivalent to home field advantage.”
Hickey also has high expectations for this coming weekend, hoping to do her best leading into the conference meet.
“This is my senior season so I have a lot of expectations for myself at conference. I’m really excited too. I’m hoping that this weekend before conference I can run personal records so for conference I can PR again.” Hickey said.
The entire team has high hopes. Coming off of a great record-breaking season indoors, it is exciting to move outdoors and have the opportunity to compete. Lee believes it’s an opportunity for the team to show their stuff and prove themselves.
“At conference it is always everyone’s goal to earn a first place. I am looking to score as many points for my team as possible. It has been a long time since Knox has really been a contender as a whole team so it would be nice to show the rest of the conference what we are made of,” Lee said.
Arango believes it is important to prepare all around, while keeping track of schoolwork.
“To prepare for conference we have begun to increase the intensity at practice in order to best prepare ourselves for the high levels of competition this outdoor season,” Arango said. “We are trying to make sure that everyone stays healthy, physically and mentally, and helping each other with school since we are approaching the end of the term.”
Hickey looks forward to conference because it is one of the best seasons she’s had.
“I’m anticipating to achieve all my PR goals and for our team to do as well, if not better, at [the] indoor conference [meet]. Our two seasons are really long, but we’ve been lucky that we have two conferences to achieve goals at. This year’s team is the strongest and most competitive it’s been my four years at Knox and I’m so excited to see how we do!” Hickey said.
The Fire will compete at Monmouth College on May 5, before competing there again for the Midwest Conference Championships on May 11 and 12.