Simpson track team sprints to a strong start

by Tyler LarsonStaff Writer

What started four weeks before Christmas break is now a full-time reality for the men’s and women’s track teams. They officially started their indoor season Jan. 6, and it will last through mid-March. So far things have been looking promising for the teams.

“We are off to a good start,” coach Dave Cleveland said. “I am pretty pleased where we are currently at.”

The teams have had three meets so far. They had one Jan. 16 at Wartburg and there were no team scores at the meet.

“It was just a chance to get to see where we were at,” Cleveland said. “We have a pretty well-balanced team throughout.”

They had their second meet at Central Missouri University.

“Everyone there was a Division II team,” Cleveland said. “It was nice to see other competition that you don’t usually get to see.”

A standout that helped with Simpson’s balanced effort was sophomore Louis Elbert.

“We really worked hard and pushed ourselves in the first two meets,” Elbert said. “It was nice to see where we were at so we can keep working hard and improve our times.”

Another athlete that helped Simpson, especially in the 400-meter events, was sophomore Glenn Beenblossom.

“We ran pretty well in those meets,” Beenblossom said. “We have a good team and expect to do better than last year. We just need to work hard and stay healthy.”

The team is hoping to improve on last season and points to the youth of the group as one reason why. They currently only have four seniors, two of whom have been here four years and two who transferred in.

“We are very young and have a large sophomore and junior class,” Cleveland said. “I am very optimistic that they will help the team because of their dedication.”

Another one of those runners from the sophomore class is Catie Ellingson.

“We have a lot of young, talented athletes who are looking to do well and step up for both the men’s and women’s teams,” Ellingson said. “We just need to stay healthy, work hard, and we will then definitely improve from last year.”

The Storm has only four more meets before the NCAA Division III National Championships. One of those meets is the IIAC Conference Championships.

“We hope to be consistent during the entire year and be ready to compete at the conference championships,” Cleveland said. “We know we have athletes who can do it individually and with their relays. We want to be considered a top-level team.”

The men’s team has set some individual and team goals for the rest of the season.

“Personally I want to drop my times and stay healthy,” Beenblossom said. “As a team though, I want us to place as high as we can in conference and hopefully run for a championship.”

The women’s team has some of the same aspirations.

“We want to improve from our performance from last year,” Ellingson said. “We want to place as well as we can at the conference meet.”

The IIAC Championships are on Feb. 27-28. Simpson will conclude the indoor season with the Division III National Championship March 13-14.