Track & field season opens with optimism

Photo by Boo Kirkwood

By Lauren Keegan

Lewis & Clark track & field kicked off its indoor season competing in the University of Washington Open, an indoor invitational meet held on Feb. 11. The outdoor season is fast approaching, and the team is gearing up for some tremendous performances.

“I’m really excited to see the progress we’re going to make, we’re a very young team and it’ll be fun watching the team compete,” Head Coach Keith Woodard said. “This is the biggest team we’ve had in quite a few years, and we’ll be able to cover all of the events, and I don’t think we’ve done that for quite a while. Basically we’re just really excited to see what kind of progress we make with everyone across the board.”

“We’ve very excited about this upcoming season,” Assistant Coach Aaron Campbell said. “We have a very energetic and ambitious group that are looking forward to season, as well as very positive energy at practice, which usually results in good things to come.”

The 64-athlete team includes athletes returning from abroad. Both Katie Hull ’19 and Rachelle Locey ’19 spent the fall 2017 semester in Chile, and are preparing to enter competition season once again with both enthusiasm and challenges.

“I’m super excited because I missed it, but I also haven’t raced in a year,” Hull said. “So there’s a little bit of anxiety there.”

“In general, the challenges have been having a busy schedule, more so than before I left,” Locey said. “But coming back to a welcoming and understanding and encouraging team like track, I really appreciate having this community to retreat to. I’m excited to return because our team had grown and it’s a good environment to be in. I’m grateful for the team.”

Many team members participated in fall sports, including cross country, football and soccer.  Amelia Jackson ’18 reflects on the experience of running cross country this fall and distance track in spring.

“I’m excited to have people to train with this year, because I haven’t had people in my training group until this year, even in high school,” Jackson said. “It’s nice to actually have people I can run with. Before I was either injured or had other problems, but now I have people that can help me get through that.”

Sarah Howard ’20, Emily Tash ’21 and McKenzie Wingard ’21 are entering track from the women’s soccer team. Howard has fully recovered from breaking both her wrists during a wgame at the start of the fall soccer season.

“It’s definitely an interesting transition, and track is very different from soccer,” Howard said. “But it’s also a very refreshing transition and a great team to be a part of.”

LC track & field has welcomed 13 athletes from the football team. While both teams are very large, the dynamics are different due to the competitive distinctions between the two sports.

“Coming from football was a big transition,” Deriontae Green ’21 said. “But I think I’m getting used to the flow of things.”

Despite the varying athletic backgrounds and large team size, LC track & field is a tight-knit team.

“There’s a great energy and vibe about it,” Woodard said.

LC track & field is off to a strong start in its upcoming season after the UW Open. In the men’s 60 meters, Isam Tahir ’21, Green and Sam Mason ’21 placed 23, 45 and 62 out of 67 competitors respectively, with times of 7.24, 7.39 and 7.86 seconds.

“I’ve never done indoor track before, so it was quite different,” Green said of his experience racing. “My times weren’t what I expected them to be just because it was a season opener and it was indoor, but overall I think I did okay, not too bad for my first meet.”

Green and Tahir also competed in the men’s 200 meters, placing second and third in their heat with times of 23.13 and 23.74 seconds respectively. They placed overall at 26 and 40 out of 58 runners. Nabil Khan ’21 ran the 60 meter hurdles, placing fifth in his heat and 31 overall with a time of 10.11 seconds. Logan Kyle ’21 pole vaulted 13 feet and 0.75 inches, placing 29 out of 43 competitors overall.

Howard placed first in her heat and 63 out of 73 overall in the 60 meters with a time of 8.71 seconds. Tash placed second in her heat and 50 out of 57 overall at 28.34 seconds in the 200 meters.

“This meet went really well, especially for both of us (Tash and I), both soccer players now running track,” Howard said. “For us to come first and second in our events was super cool, and it’s made us excited and pumped for the rest of the season to come.”

Morgan Taylor ’20 ran the 60 meter hurdles, finishing fifth in her heat and 47 out of 51 overall at 10.6 seconds. In triple jump, Locey, Ty Marshall ’19 and Christlyn DeMattos ’19 placed 18, 20 and 21 out of 25 competitors, with jumps of 31 feet and 9.5 inches, 30 feet and 7.5 inches, and 29 feet and 4.5 inches respectively. Locey also competed in long jump, placing fifth in her heat and 27 out of 43 jumpers at 15 feet and 6 inches. DeMattos high jumped 4 feet and 7 inches, placing 41 out of 47 jumpers. Tee Benko ’18 pole vaulted 9 feet and 1.75 inches, placing 37 out of 44 vaulters.

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