Northfield, Minn. -- What a difference a year makes. At the 2007 Carleton Relays, the Knights track and field team scored only 25 points to place 13th in the team standings. Turn the calendar ahead one year, and the Carleton men placed fourth with an astounding 95.5 points, narrowly besting conference foes Bethel and St. Olaf. The meet included entrants from Division I and Division II teams as well.
Junior Tom Ballinger (Wenatchee, Wash.) put in his normal yeoman effort winning the 400-meter hurdles in an NCAA provisional time of 53.67. He also placed fourth in the 110m Hurdles and anchored both the 4x100m and 4x400m relays.
“With Ballinger a bit weary from a number of tremendous races already this spring and a couple hard weeks of training, his relay teammates came through with outstanding efforts,” said head coach Dave Ricks.
Ballinger’s teammates in the 4x100m relay—juniors Drew Ziller (Byron, Minn./Rochester Lourdes), Nick Cesarek (Eagan, Minn./Eastview) and Kane Bechstein (Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview)—helped the group finish second with a time of 43.66.
The meet started out with the 10,000-meter run. First-year John Davis (Eden Prairie, Minn.) had an outstanding debut in the event, finishing third with a time of 32:30.98.
Sophomore Charlie Gamble (San Diego, Calif./La Jolla) recorded a personal record in the 1500m and barely missed breaking the four-minute mark with a time of 4:00.62 as he finished eighth in a loaded field. The event’s top three finishers all posted NCAA provisional times.
The large field in the steeplechase included Carleton seniors Quentin Kennedy (Chariton, Iowa), Mark Felice (Roseville, Minn.) and Eamon Monagahn (Wilmette, Ill./New Trier), who finished third, fourth and sixth respectively.
The Knights also saw strong performances in the longer sprint races as Cesarek was third in the 200m in 22.70 while Michael Sanders (Cedar Falls, Iowa) had PR's in both the 400m and 200m. Sanders' 50.99 effort in the 400m placed him fifth.
Jack Delehanty (Jr./Madison, Wis./Monona Grove) established a new PR in the 800m while placing fourth in a very tough field.
The meet's final running event, the 4x400m relay, had Carleton running with a chip on their shoulder after being snubbed by the Drake Relays. A total of five MIAC teams were accepted into Drake before Carleton.
In what was Cesarek's fifth event of the day, he opened with a 51.96 lead-off keeping the Knights in contention in it. Sanders and Delehanty responded with huge efforts to put Ballinger only meters from the lead. Sanders' split of 50.23 and Delehanty's 49.75 were the best splits either has ever record.
“Ballinger fell slightly off the leaders with 200 meters to go and then summoned up the energy and used his patented finishing kick to give the Knights their first Carleton Relays 4x400m relay crown in recent memory,” Ricks said.
Bechstein, also known for his muliple event meets, was second in the Javelin to lead Carleton’s field-event competitors.
Rookie Jameson Siegert (Madison, Minn./Lac Qui Parle Valley) scored in the triple jump (fourth), high jump (fifth) and long jump (eigth).
Fellow first-year Ty Martin (Minot, N.D.) made his collegiate track and field debut while competing in four events. In his first-ever long jump he qualified for the finals and placed a surprising seventh.
“(Martin) shows the potential to contribute in a number of events while he is here at Carleton,” noted Ricks.
Ziller, Bechstein, Martin, and Kyle Burkhardt (So./Eden Prairie, Minn.) placed sixth in the 4x200m relay. That came after Burkhardt had broke his personal standard while finishing 10th in the 400m hurdles.
When a team jumps up from 13th to fourth in one year at a big meet like the Carleton Relays something special must have happened. Besides the aforementioned personal records and high finishes, a group of four Carleton teammates found a way to contribute in a big way. The foursome included rookies Joe Marren (Chicago/Loyola Academy), Michael Knudson (Decorah, Iowa) and Colin Sinclair (Madison, Wisc./West) along with senior Tyler Mackey (McFarland, Wis.)
“These four gave up their opportunity in individual races to run together in the 4x1600m relay,” Ricks explains. “They finished third and contributed six points to the team scoring. Not a big deal? Well it is when you beat cross-town rival St Olaf by only 5.5 points. These guys are teammates!”
The track and field team next competes at the Macalester Twilight on Wed., April 23. Field events start at 5pm and running at 6pm.