Indoor Track & Field aims to build squad


Photo contributed by James Kirby.

by Noah Sacco, Staff Reporter

The indoor track and field team competed at the Grinnell Invitational last weekend, where many Simpson athletes placed in the top 10 for both men’s and women’s throwers.

This early success shows promising signs for a squad that is relatively young on both sides. Yet, high performance and leadership from upperclassmen is evident.

Junior Caleb Striegel claimed second place in shot put and first in the weight throw while on the women’s side junior Madison Anderson placed ninth in shot put and seventh in the weight throw.

Head Track and Field Coach Dave Cleveland believes these numbers can be attributed to athletes’ skill development.

“Our goal is to have athletes improve on a yearly basis and also throughout their careers,” Cleveland said. “Track is a game of numbers. The more quality and quantity of athletes you hold can better your chances to score points in a conference meet.”

Earlier in January, the men’s team finished third overall at the Dutch Athletics Classic. One of the top performers was senior Jordan Coughenour as he finished second in the 400-meter sprint and third in the 4×400 relay.  

“I’m really excited about the attitudes and hard work everyone brings to practices. I think that it will translate very well to the performances we will see this season,” Coughenour said.

Fifth-year senior and member of the 4×400 relay squad Travis Tupper shares similar faith in the integrity of the team.

“Early season is always a mentally tough time, because you want to be where you ended the previous indoor season, but it takes time to develop to that point,” Tupper said. “I feel that I am in the best shape physically that I have ever been in and fully expect to exceed my best times from last season.”

The women’s track and field team has shown similar success at early meets.

At the Grinnell Invitational, senior Mackenzie James led the Storm with the top time in the 60 and 200-meter races. Emily Buchheit also showed well with two top five performances in the mile.

One of the top returning athletes for the women’s team is all-conference middle distance runner Katelyn Mangold. The sophomore placed third in the conference for the 400-meter hurdles at Grinnell.

“Right now I’m preaching a lot of patience,” Cleveland said. “We’re gonna rely on kids to pick up the slack in certain areas and push them to get out of their comfort zone.”

In spite of the early success for the men’s and women’s team, injuries still haunt both squads.

The biggest setbacks in success have been hamstrings and hip labrum tears to many athletes. It has made reaching goals very difficult,” Tupper said.

With that being said, part of the focus for both teams this season is to stay healthy. Then, they can continue to build their numbers in throwing, distance races, sprints, jumps, and hurdles.

Aside from individual growth being a top priority, one of the central goals of the men’s and women’s track and field team will be reaching the top-half of the conference. So far, it seems pretty attainable.

“Across the board, all aspects of our team have gotten stronger this year. There is great talent on both the men and women’s sides. I feel that the mentality of all athletes to outwork competition in practice to achieve success on meet days is the best it’s ever been,” Coughenour said.

The next meet for women’s and men’s track and field will take place at the Wartburg Select in Waverly on February 1st and 2nd.