Track teams gain new faces, lose 23 seniors

by Nicole Dillenburg

The track team is undergoing a dramatic change this season after losing 23 seniors to graduation last year.

The indoor season is currently under way as both the men’s and women’s teams have been practicing for the seven to eight indoor meets they will be competing in.

Dealing with this change of personnel allows many fresh faces to come in and give the team a new identity. Head coach Dave Cleveland said that he is excited about the new faces because they are all very eager and have shown good attitude.

“We need to work hard and work at getting better each week,” Cleveland said.

Cleveland is leaning on the upperclassman to show leadership every day in practice. One of these seniors is Ethan Elkin, pole vaulter for the Storm.

“We all work hard during practice and challenge one another to work even harder,” Elkin said.

Many teams establish goals at the beginning of their season to keep athletes focused on where they want to be at the end of the season and what they want to accomplish.

Senior Catie Ellingson has had a lot of success on the cross-country team as well as track. Ellingson has prepared by having a few goals of her own.

“The number one goal is for everyone to improve from last year,” Ellingson said. “We are a young team so we don’t really know what to expect. We are excited to see what we are capable of.”

The outlook for this season is completely different compared to last year because of the lack of experience being held within the new teammates. For junior high jumper Kinsey Bak, her expectations are on par with the teams.

“Expectations vary,” Bak said. “They are high for returning people, but since we have so many new people, we will have to see what everyone’s made of. After the first meet, a lot of people picked up where they left off, if not did better.”

The first meet for their indoor season was held at Wartburg on Jan. 14, resulting in 15 top-three finishes from both the men’s and women’s side. The team will compete again this Saturday, Jan. 29 at the Dubuque open.

Following the meet at Dubuque, the Storm will compete at Cornell on Feb. 5, and Grinnell on Feb. 11- 12. The Storm will have one more meet after those two before the IIAC Conference Indoor Track Championships, which are hosted at Central College on Feb. 25-26. If any of the times are good enough to qualify for Nationals, those will take place in Columbus, Ohio on March 11-12.

After the indoor season is complete, the Storm will have a bit of a break before the outdoor season begins. The first outdoor meet for the Storm will come on April 2, as Wartburg will be the host.

The first home meet for the Storm will fall on April 28 when Simpson College will host the Kip Janvrin Open.