Track team finds success despite small numbers

by Cassie Norman

Simpson’s track and field team traveled to Buena Vista University for the Iowa Conference Indoor Championships on Feb. 24-25, where the team’s size had as much influence on the outcome as its talent.

While there was some disappointment in their standings, the team and coaches were satisfied with the team’s performance. The women finished the meet in fifth place and men placed ninth.

“Overall it was a successful weekend,” Coach Dave Cleveland said. “The women’s side performed up to their ability. Even though the men placed where they did, given the circumstances, they performed admirably.”

The lack of numbers compared to other teams in the conference was a liability when it came to scoring points. Simpson’s runners were asked to run three or four races, which caused more exhaustion.

According to senior Lance Harris, although the team fell short in numbers, they’re not short on the amount of talent.

“Track is a game of numbers,” Harris said. “In basketball, you can only have five players on the court at a time. Track teams can use as many people as they want. It’s hard to compete when you don’t have the numbers. We have just as much talent. We have the athletes.”

The main strength for the teams, where the teams score the most points, lies in its throwers and distance runners. The Storm track team struggles when it comes to depth. However, the team has worked through this and continues to get better.

The beginning of the outdoor season will see a small increase in the number of athletes as basketball players and other athletes join the team, and the team hopes to continue to develop.

“There was a great deal of improvement,” senior Jen Wendt said. “As a distance runner, I saw how the distance team improved. We have a good, strong foundation to build on for outdoor.”

Senior Caroline Capper agrees that the experience and knowledge gained during indoor track and field has paid off for the team.

“The season has definitely been a learning experience,” Capper said. “We’ve had a few step up to leadership roles and athletically. There were some who found more strength this year.”

Senior Robert Delsing agrees that the track and field team is moving in the right direction.

“The morale is a lot higher,” Delsing said. “We believe in Coach Cleveland and are getting along with him and buying into his program.”

Cleveland is looking forward to the outdoor season and feels the team is more suited for outdoor track, with returning qualifiers and veteran leadership.

The outdoor season creates a much different environment for the athletes. Compared to the indoor season, it adds or removes some events. For example, the outdoor season includes the javelin, steeple chase, and 400 hurdles, which are not part of the indoor meets.

Another different aspect of the outdoor season is the weather. Wendt said that this creates a whole different atmosphere.

The track team will begin its outdoor season with the Wartburg Midweek Invitational on March 22.