Sports / The Prairie Fire / March 6, 2008

With every end comes a new beginning

The indoor portion of the track and field season ended with the conclusion of the Midwest Conference Championships on Saturday. Both the means and women’s team had respectable finishes, the men coming in eighth, the women ninth. Improvement from last year, the key feature the teams were looking for, was apparent, and there was little the teams had to regret in their accomplishments.

“It was a great experience,” said Coach Patrick Irwin. “We got a lot done. The men finished up one place from last year, and though the women finished at ninth again, the young team we have showed a lot of individual improvement.”

There were 23 season best performances at conference, and the team had three medalists; Senior Tim Rairdon finished third in the 800 meter, senior Pam Bell grabbed third in the 200 meter, and the men’s sprint medley broke the school record, medaling in the process.

“People competed hard,” said Coach Dan Zierfuss, “and even though their times and performances didn’t exhibit that, the effort was there.”

In addition to the three medalists, other finishes of note included Bell also finishing seventh in the long jump and eleventh in the 55m dash, freshman Bill Schaefer twelfth in the 55m hurdles, and sophomore Adam Kent, school record holder in the weight throw, coming in a disappointing eighth place.

“I tried too hard,” said Kent. “I over thought the whole throw. I had my mind in the circle with me, instead of on the bench.”

Despite the disappointing finish, Kent sees the future as a good thing.

“I still have two more years, not to mention outdoor this year, so I’m sure I can get it,” said Kent.

Tim Rairdon, who was also going into the meet with a broken record under his belt, and who had an admittedly better day than Kent, went into it with a curious mindset.

“I’m Tim Rairdon, Record Breaker,” he said he told himself before conference, “and Record Breakers don’t dwell on their non-record breaking past.”

His confidence came through in a victory, a wonderful way to finish his final go at indoor track and field.

As the season ends, the coaches and athletes look back on a season that was unrecognizable from beginning to end.

“The improvements we showed were incredible,” said Zierfuss. “Even though we didn’t quite achieve what we wanted to, the experience we gained, especially in the younger people, is wonderful for spring. Indoor is a good time to improve the fitness and get ready for spring more than anything, and the team, especially the freshmen, was outstanding in what they accomplished.”

“We had a lot of fun, a lot of good people are on the team,” said Kent. “We all look forward to outdoor.”

“There was a lot of effort put in to get to where we needed to be,” said Irwin, “and what we accomplished was a good benchmark for us to try to surpass, both this spring and next year. I’m very proud of them all.”

It was a season of big accomplishments, and as Rairdon, the record holder, said, “I’m going to be immortalized on a purple plaque that football players of the future will look at as they lift weights and listen to Nickelback in the Fitness Center.”

Though his time as an indoor track star has come to an end, others will step up, and hey, he does still have outdoor.

Merritt Rohlfing

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