Carleton track & field athletes took the track last weekend at St. Olaf for the first time since the NCAA Indoor Championships in Salem, N.C. were cancelled during March of last year. As Carleton battled St. Olaf and Macalester at Manitou Track, athletes had the chance to shake off the rust from over a year without competition. While a return offered some sense of normalcy, the pandemic was still felt as athletes competed fully masked in every event, from the high jump to the 200m to the 5k.
On the Women’s side Carleton was propelled by a commanding sprint performance from Riley Roberts, who won the 100m dash with a blistering time of 13.38 and placed second in the 200m behind St Olaf’s Karla Kroschel. Carleton also placed well in the middle distance events, with Amy Kropp, Mary Blanchard, Alice Cutter, and Sadie Ray Smith placing third through sixth respectively. Meanwhile, the Carletonian’s very own Ellie Zimmerman put on a strong performance in the 1500m run, placing seventh with a time of 5:16.
Carleton dominated the 5000m run, the longest event of the meet. 2019 Cross Country All-Americans Clara Mayfield and Amanda Mosborg blew away the field, running 17:35 and 17:51 respectively—almost a full two minutes ahead of the third-place finisher.
Carleton also performed well in the field. In the high jump, Eve Farrell had an impressive best jump of 1.55m, out-leaping St. Olaf’s Teresa Pettit-Kenny by .5m to secure first place. Sydney Marsh also took first place in the pole vault with a vault of 3.05m, and Grace Blanchette won the Javelin throw with a heave of 28.17m.
The Carleton Women came in 2nd to St. Olaf 134.5 to 274.5, but that result is deceiving. St. Olaf entered many more athletes than Carleton, and the small size of the meet fed into that advantage.
Carleton’s prospects for the season are bright. Led by head coach Donna Ricks, the Women’s team will rely on the dominance of Mayfield and Mosborg in distance events, along with the speed of Riley Roberts in sprint events. Field events will also be a strength for the Carls, with performers like Eve Farrell, Sydney Marsh and Grace Blanchette racking up points in jumping events.
The Carleton Men’s side also enjoyed a solid performance. Liam Kennedy and Bridger Rivers anchored the Carls in sprint events. Kennedy and Rives finished first and third in the 200m dash, and second and fourth in the 400m dash. Jeremy Fong held it down in the 800m run, demolishing the rest of the field with a time of 1:59.87, a full four seconds ahead of the next competitor.
In the 1500m run, multi-time All-American Matthew Wilkinson earned victory with a 3:58 finish, cruising past Olaf’s Sam Stressmen on his way to putting up the top time in the MIAC this year. The Carls continued their historical dominance in the steeplechase, sweeping the event with Ben Santos, Elijah Jones and Henry Bowman going first, second and third, finishing well in front of the rest of the field. Their performances make up three of the top four in the MIAC this season.
Distance standout Lucas Mueller won a tactical 5000m race with a time of 14:58 (good for best in the MIAC), holding off the blistering kick of St. Olaf’s Rueben Kosche down the stretch. Mueller’s race was particularly impressive given the multi-time All-American was the lone Carl in a field of 13 Oles, all of whom he soundly defeated.
The male Carls also had an excellent day in the field. Ian Mortensen won the Javelin throw with a toss of 52.17m, and Noah Eckersley-Ray placed 2nd at 46.06m. Mortensen’s Javelin toss was the second longest throw in the MIAC this year. Aravindh Subramanian jumped a personal best of 1.85m in the high jump, securing second place.
The Carleton men lost 189 to 74, but yet again the multitude of athletes on St. Olaf’s side meant they had a strong advantage, especially in such a small meet. Not unlike the Carleton women, the men’s side will rely on the elite distance duo of Matthew Wilkinson and Lucas Mueller to score points in events from the 1500 to the 10k this year.
Another strong point for the Carls is the depth of their distance runners, as six of seven runners from the 2019 cross country team that placed 11th at nationals will be returning. In sprints, Kennedy and Rives will have to carry the Carls, with help from breakout middle distance runner Jeremy Fong in the 400 and 800 meter races. In the field, Mortensen and Subramanian will look to build on strong early performances, and the Carls will need them to pick up points to make up for the lack of depth in other field events.
Led by star performers, the Carleton track and field squads have bright prospects for this season as they work towards the ultimate goal of winning the MIAC conference meet scheduled for mid-May. The next test for both the men’s and women’s teams will come this weekend at the Carleton Relays. Action will begin at 10 a.m. at Laird Stadium.
Correction: April 18, 2021 — the April 16 print edition of this article mistakenly cited statistics for athlete Paige Woldt. While Woldt is to be congratulated on her performance, she is a St. Olaf student, not a Carl.