Simpson track and field make strides for conference glory


The track and field teams look to keep their reputation and improve their skills at the next meet on Friday in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo: Jayde Vogeler, Photography Editor/The Simpsonian)

by Matt Lash, Sports Reporter

INDIANOLA, Iowa — With the upcoming spring season, the Simpson track and field teams are continuing to make improvements. In the offseason, athletes have been pushing to cut time, increase endurance and improve their technique in the events they will each be participating in.

Last year, the Storm men finished near the top of the indoor Iowa Conference meet and look to expand that to success in the outdoor meet this year. In the offseason, the team has worked on their technique and have been pushing themselves to ensure their times get faster, long races get easier and they are getting stronger as a team.

Although there are about 45 athletes on the men’s team, there are a few runners that head coach Dave Cleveland has higher expectations for.

Senior Trevor McKee has shown himself as an all-around athlete in his time at Simpson. This season, McKee looks to make personal improvements in his events as well as show his determination to be the best while encouraging his teammates to do the same.

“Individually, my goal is for our indoor 4×800-meter relay to return to the podium at conference,” McKee said. “Our guys are closer and more dedicated than I have experienced in my four years here.”

Sophomore Dylan Kalinay has shown that he can be counted on when the team needs to take an event.

In 2016, Kalinay earned All-American honors with an eighth-place effort in the 110-meter hurdles at the Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships. This year, Kalinay has even higher hopes for himself.

“My goals this year are to break both the 60-meter high hurdle and the 110-meter high hurdle school records and be named an All-American in both,” Kalinay said. Though it won’t be easy, the team has their sights set on an IIAC title.

Though it is hard to go a full season without injuries to key athletes, the Simpson men have been able to push through and find success in previous seasons to stay competitive within the IIAC.

The Storm women, however, have experienced struggles and injuries that have set them back from being at the top of the conference in recent years. They look to change that this season.

Although the women’s team finished near the bottom of the IIAC during the indoor season last year, they did earn Team Academic All-American honors. This season, the women have high expectations for themselves and look to make a run into the top of the conference.

Junior Audrey LoVan has seen some success in the pole vault and the 60-meter dash in her Simpson track career. Last year, LoVan was able to finish 18th in the IIAC in the 60-meter dash (8.43 seconds) and fifth place in the pole vault (9 feet, 6 inches).

In her third season on the team, LoVan, much like Kalinay, has shown her capabilities to help the Storm compete in meets.

“This year my goal for indoor track is get 10 feet and hopefully 10 feet, 6 inches for outdoor season,” LoVan said. “Long term, my goal is to make it to nationals by my senior year. The minimum height for that is usually around 11 feet so I have a way to go yet, but with hard work and some better technique I think I’ll be able to get there.”

Head coach Dave Cleveland is in his 12th year with the Storm track and field program and is making the difference he wanted to make when he accepted the position. Cleveland is taking every meet seriously and is using them to give athletes experience under pressure and develop the team to be the best they can be.

Coming off a successful season, Cleveland only has one thing in mind: a title.

“Our ultimate goal is to have our best performances in May at Outdoor IIAC Championships at Buena Vista and Outdoor National Championships at Mount Union,” Cleveland said. “It takes a lot to make a team successful, and I’m blessed to be surrounded by great assistant coaches at Simpson that make it easier to succeed.”

The Storm will host its only home meet of the season during the last week in April leading up to the Drake Relays.