MANKATO, Minn. – It’s extremely early in the 2013 season, but if the initial indications come to mean anything, it could be a very exciting indoor campaign for the Carleton College men’s track and field team. The Knights won three events at the Minnesota State Mankato Open, a meet that featured mostly competitors from NCAA Division II institutions.
In a day filled with many exciting events, it is possible that none was more dramatic than Carleton’s triumph in the 4x400-meter relay, the day’s final race. The top four finishers were within one second of each other.
After Isaac Schrantz (So./Owatonna, Minn./Owatonna) led off, Jack Percival (Fy./Newport Coast, Calif./Sage Hill) ran a monster leg to bring Carleton into second place. Arnaud Kpachavi (So./San Gregorio, Calif./Woodside Priory) took over and pulled the Knights even with the leaders heading into the final exchange. Noah Laack-Veeder (So./Madison, Wis./LaFollette) ran a relaxed first 300 meters, then took the lead for good around the final turn. With all in attendance focused on the closing sprint, Laack-Veeder reached the line at 3:28.98, nearly a half-second in front of the runners up. The rest of the Knights roster mobbed the victorious quartet.
Come to think of it, that was only the second-most dramatic finish for Laack-Veeder on this day. Earlier, the sophomore posted a come-from-behind victory in the 800-meter run, reaching the tape at 1:56.54 for a winning margin of only 0.01 second. While Noah Laack-Veeder had a flair for great theater, Jacob Hoerger (Jr./Chapel Hill, N.C./Chapel Hill) had easily the most entertaining victory for Carleton at the meet.
The younger Hoerger told his parents he gets too nervous if they come to watch him race. Not to be deterred, Tom Hoerger ’81 and his wife, Susan, traveled from Chapel Hill, N.C., and donned Groucho Marx-esque fake noses, glasses and mustaches in order to watch their son compete in the 5000-meter run.
The disguises (see photo on right) must have worked to perfection. Jacob Hoeger went out and recorded his first-ever collegiate victory, posting the No. 10 indoor time at Carleton, as completed the race in 15:19.97 for a nearly 26-second victory.
In addition to the three victories, there were other notable performances for the Knights on Saturday. Noah’s twin brother, Thor Laack-Veeder (So./Madison, Wis./LaFollette), established a big personal best time of 2:36.21 as he finished second in the 1000-meter run. Percival tied the No. 3 time in program history when he reached the line in the 600-meter dash at 1:23.92. And C.J. Dale (Sr./Fox Island, Wash./Charles Wright Academy) totaled 4099 points—second most all-time at Carleton—en route to a seventh-place result in the heptathlon.
The Knights will travel to Grinnell, Iowa, for the ACM Championships next Saturday, Feb. 2 at 10:00 a.m.