For yet another weekend the Knox track and field team was shut down due to weather, as the Illinois College Invitational was cancelled by the IC coach. This marks the second time this has happened in two weeks, and Knox continues to sit on its hands, waiting and anticipating the coming competition, the Dick Young Classic at Grinnell College on Saturday, April 19.
“Its frustrating,” said coach Dan Zierfuss, “We haven’t been able to have a full season, so we can’t find our best marks in competition.”
The team, without the ability to stack itself up against other squads, has no baseline set as yet for the conference finals and therefore does not know what to work towards or what they are working for.
Since the team has had nothing but practices, including the intrasquad meet held Saturday, April 5, a sense of tedium that has been introduced to the team. Coupled with the loss last week of several athletes, the team has suffered in the morale department. To combat this, the team captains took the situation into their own hands.
“The captains decided the team needed to go out to dinner and a movie together,” said Zierfuss. “It was a good chance for them to form together again as a team, and get away from the coaches.” Junior distance runner Karen Brophy agreed, feeling the team was ready to compete now.
“We haven’t really been hurt all that much [by the losses],” she said. “We’re just excited to go out there and compete for the first meet of the season.” Brophy has not competed in an outdoor track meet, as this is her first year on the team. Still, she is ready to run, and the coaches are quick to praise her talents.
“Last year, she only ran cross country so she has to learn to focus on the race, how many laps she has to go. She just can’t fall asleep,” said Zierfuss. In addition to Brophy, many athletes are prepared to do very well this week at Grinnell.
“Grinnell will be good for us,” said Zierfuss. “It should be a double digits meet and they have an outstanding facility out there. It will allow us to see where we are, and we still have time before conference, so we can set some [personal records] to begin the season.” In particular, the team holds two current record breakers, senior Tim Rairdon and sophomore Adam Kent, as well as perennial contender senior Pam Bell.
“Adam has been doing real well in practice,” said Zierfuss. “ He never did the hammer throw until this year, which surprised me. Still, he should shatter the record real soon.” When asked about Rairdon, Zierfuss commented, “Tim has a shot at a record real soon, and all his events, the 400m, 800m, and 1500m look real strong. Coach [Patrick] Irwin will do real well outdoors this season.”
On the whole, the coaches feel the preparation the team has taken before the meet can do nothing but help them. With three extra weeks to get ready, they are aimed to peak at the right time, the MWC championships.
“Competition is a higher quality workout,” said coach Irwin. “It’s a different part of the workout plan they go through. We need the competition to get in the right mindset. We’re just all excited to get out there.” With four weeks until conference, the team looks to really turn it up a notch and make that conference championship Knox’s once again.