Last week was a busy one for the Carleton women’s track and field team. The competitive action kicked off on Wednesday at the Hamline Twilight.
Alex Dunn ’11 placed eighth in the 1500m run, further solidifying her evolution from a sprinter to a mid-distance runner (the 5:12 time attached didn’t hurt either). Kyla Walter ’11 took fifth in the 100 hurdles, dipping under 17 seconds, followed by Sami Kemper ’14 in sixth. There was also a lot of throwing going on that night. One of the most impressive performances was that of Kelly Soderstrom ’11, who achieved a best distance of 111 feet, 11 inches in the hammer. Another came from Jessa Youso ’13, who notched her best distance in the javelin.
On Thursday, Simone Childs-Walker ’12 raced a 10k at the Drake Relays in Iowa. Childs-Walker ran a spectacular 35:29, placing fifth in the race. Her time puts her at third in the nation and secures her a spot at the NCAA DIII National Championships.
Childs-Walker won’t be alone at the national competition though. On a windy day in Iowa, Kelly Lovett ’11 tossed a spear 149 feet, 5 inches to take sixth in the javelin throw. Lovett’s distance puts her at third in the nation. Pretty good, if you ask me.
Inspired by these performances, the rest of the team headed down to Winona to compete at Saint Mary’s University. The day kicked off with the throws, full of solid performances despite the less-than-optimal throwing conditions. Soderstrom and Youso nearly matched their marks from Wednesday, and Youso and Kao Sutton ’14 threw close to their bests in the shot put.
Carleton’s runners got started with the hurdles. Sami Kemper ’14 qualified for the finals by running under 17 seconds. Maggie Sullivan ’14 demonstrated her resilience by competing in the 100 hurdles and coming back a few short minutes later to run the 100. After these sprints, the 1500m runners took to the track and gave some impressive performances. All fully healthy runners ran their best times in that event, with Rachel Kittaka ’12 starting the trend by dropping seven seconds off her best time ever following two months without a competition. Then Carrie Harshbarger ’13 ran with a giant to shave six seconds off her best and Milana Socha ’14 improved her best time of the season. Sarah Trautman ’13 broke the five-minute mark to place fourth in the competition.
In the 800m run Laura Newcombe ’13 met her goal of breaking the three-minute mark, while Alex Dunn ’11 dropped time yet again, running a speedy 2:24. Throughout all this, Kemper snuck into the triple jump, bounding over 35 feet to a fifth-place performance. Following a solid vault performance, Megan Erlandson ’12 jumped into the 200m dash, winning her heat. Also in the event, Walter took sixth and Sullivan placed 16th.
After the 200m, the distance runners took to the track again, this time in the 5000. Alison Smyth ’12 ended up winning the race, while Rachael Klehm ’13 ran nearly 30 seconds faster than her last 5k to take third in 18:39. Emily Fritz-Endres ’11 secured the fourth place in the race, breaking the 19-minute barrier. Shannon Mueller ’12 had someone to run with and dipped under 19:30 for the first time in two years.
Now, usually everyone makes it through the 5k, runs a quick relay, and then hops on the bus. This time, however, the discus throwers decided they wanted an audience. With Dave Ricks and Leon Lunder at the helm, the throws proceeded nicely and the Carleton throwers had some solid performances. Youso threw exactly 100 feet to set a new personal record. Lovett and Sutton qualified for finals, with Lovett throwing a season’s best and Sutton taking sixth in the event.
These excellent performances were designed to take the Knights into the conference championships on a rather positive note. A few more solid times and marks were obtained on Wednesday night and the conference championships began yesterday. They continue today at St. Olaf with the heptathlon and decathlon (so you should go across the river if you can). The multi-eventers will get a break and then next week the rest of the meet will commence on Friday at Gustavus Adolphus College.
Alison Smyth is a member of the women’s track team.