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Season Preview: Track and Field Forecasts Future

The 2020 Indoor Track and Field season was officially underway as of Monday, January 6th, when the Knights returned from an exceptionally strong off-season. Earlier this year, the cross country teams both dominated the MIAC Conference, earning the championship title for the men’s and women’s teams and earning two MIAC Athlete of the Year awards for Amanda Mosborg ’21 and Matt Wilkinson ’21. Both teams also competed in the NCAA National Championships while the sprint core had a markedly strong off-season.

This past Saturday, the Knights sent a total of six athletes to the University of Minnesota and delivered some promising performances. Notably, Joey Cooke-Gallardo ’20 ran 1:61.7 in the 600-meter dash, the second fastest time in school history, while Wilkinson finished the 3000-meter run with a time of 8:22.28, the third fastest in Carleton history. Sydney Marsh ’22, one of four female athletes representing the team last weekend, feels the season has been off to a promising start.

“It was super exciting to kick off this season competing at the University of Minnesota watching the seniors embark on their final season and watching some of the freshmen compete in their first collegiate races” says Marsh. “I am pumped to watch the rest of the team compete this weekend and have high hopes that everyone’s hard work will show in their performances.”

This season, the Knights will have nine more meets until the MIAC Championships. In addition to anticipated auspicious performances on the track, the two teams also feel that there is a lot to be proud of off the track as well. Sophomore Bridger Rives comments, “the men’s team is a pretty tightly-knit group this year. We’ve got some talented freshmen and barely graduated any seniors.” He adds, “We’re coming into this season with great depth,” and predicts that there will be impressive times run this year.

For many of these athletes, 2020 marks their last year of competition. Six runners on the women’s team and fifteen runners on the men’s team will graduate this year, making this winter their final season of indoor track and field. Senior captain Annalise Peebles reflects on this experience and emphasizes the sense of community on the team.

“I can’t say enough about this team,” she starts. “The women—our supportive atmosphere, their competitive spirit—all make the hours we put into practice and competition completely worthwhile.” She comments on the distinctive cohesion of the group: “We’ve all been able to develop strong relationships both on and off the track, which is an incredible and unique dynamic given our large numbers.” Peebles also foresees an encouraging future for the team this year, applauding her teammates for their dedication in the off-season in preparation for winter competition.

The men’s and women’s track and field teams will have their first regular meet at St. Olaf this Friday, a triangular between the two Northfield colleges and Hamline University. From their rigorous fall training, to their strong times that kicked off the season, to their impressive unity, these two teams have a promising indoor season that lies ahead this winter.

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