Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Track and Field freshmen step up to contribute to team success

<rleton men’s Track and Field team continues to have a strong season, particularly with the help of this year’s group of freshmen. The team has seen great success amongst its first year athletes, most notably amongst the sprinters and their relay teams.

The Track and Field team’s success developed as a result of rigorous training and standout performances during the indoor season. In February, freshmen runners Joey Cook-Gallardo, Bryan Richter, Ben Schwartz, and junior Mo Hicks competed in the MIAC Indoor Championships at the University of St. Thomas. The relay team competed in the 4×200 meter race, finishing with a time of 1:30.68, breaking the previous Carleton record for the event. While the freshmen wasted little time in making their mark, the transition to college level varsity athletics was no easy task for them. Richer spoke to the pressures he felt when joining the program. “My first meet, I was actually shaking and jumping around because I was so nervous about how I’d perform,” he said. “The older guys really helped calm me down, and they give so much encouragement that it just made it easy to calm down and do my best.”

Ben Schwartz, another freshman sprinter, also acknowledged the heightened demands of college athletics and how the support system from the team’s upperclassmen aided in this transition. “Coming into this year, it was a pretty big adjustment,” he said. “College athletics are a whole new environment and you need to work to see improvement and success. A great way to push through that worry and stress of a new environment was by talking with some of the upperclassmen. I think the older members of the team really allowed the freshmen to be themselves. We joke around a lot in practice, which creates an easy environment to work in, but we also try to train hard and push each other to get better every single day in training.”

The positive atmosphere of the team brought out the best in this year’s group of freshmen. Emanuel Williams, a freshman sprinter who excelled in the 60 meter this year, believes the freshmen’s success could be attributed to a combination of team competition and support. “Everyone on the team is really close and we like to push each other to be better,” he said.  “I think that contributes a lot to the success of the freshmen class as well. The upperclassmen really look out for the freshmen.”

Along with team support, individual training and coaching pushed the athletes to be at the top of their game. “The workouts that my coach gave me over the summer were huge, as I knew I’d have to up my work ethic to be competitive in a collegiate program,” Richter said. “Coach Steve really knows what he’s talking about.”

Ben Withbroe, a senior on the team, spoke to the character and versatility the freshmen have brought this year. “We generally have always had a solid crew of distance guys, largely spilling over from cross country, but there’s a lot more variation with the sprint and throwing squads. This year we have a huge collection of sprinters. They’ve clearly been contributing to the team on the track, with our success at the Drake Relays and the strongest 4x400s we’ve had in years. More than that, they’re a great group of kids who make it fun to show up at practice every day and always keep us on our toes,” Withbroe said.

This past week, Cook-Gallardo, Richter, Schwartz and Withbroe competed in the 1600 meter sprint medley relay at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa. The team finished in fourth place with a time of 3:28.48, beating high level DIII, DII and junior colleges, as well as many DI schools who competed the following day.

Having had such great success this year, the freshmen will look to follow in the steps of the upperclassmen to develop a similar type of welcoming atmosphere for the incoming recruits. “A big thing we can do next year for the freshmen to help them is replicate what the upperclassmen did for our class,” Schwartz said. “We want the freshmen to be part of the team from the moment they step foot on the campus, but we also want them to work hard every day in practice and in school so that when the competition comes around, they can perform at their best.”

This Friday and Saturday, the Knights will travel to Hamline University in St. Paul to compete in the MIAC Track and Field Championships. If successful at the conference championships, the team can secure a bid to compete at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Fishers, Indiana.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *