Track Women Take First, Men Second at First Ever College of DuPage Invitational

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Track

James Connelly | Staff Writer

The Thunder continued their pattern of growth last Saturday at the College of DuPage’s first invitational. The women’s team edged Aurora University for first place (218.5 points to 210.50) behind a solid all-around effort. The men’s team finished second in a field of 11 teams with 153 points, also garnering points from all of the departments. 

“No Hawaiian shirts this week,” remarked senior distance runner Patrick Lannen. “The weather was cool and very windy. While the distance runners may not have minded the cool temperatures, the wind definitely slowed us down.” Wind is always a major factor in running events, especially sprints, since a few added or dropped split seconds can alter the times dramatically. 

Considering that it was the College of DuPage’s debut as track meet hosts, Lannen complimented them. “Overall the meet ran smoothly, although there were some hiccups that you might expect in running your first meet.”

While the times of sprinters may be affected by gusts of air, the placements usually are not. Junior Rosalie Dillon soundly won the women’s 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.97. In the men’s 110-meter hurdles, freshman Tommy Cole also took first in 15.76. Cole also won the men’s 400-meter hurdles with a time of 55.71, 2.38 seconds ahead of the next finisher. “The transition from high school 39’’ heights to college 42’’ heights was a bit challenging at first but I think I have adapted quite well,” Cole said. “I am still getting used to the transition from 300-meter hurdles to 400-meter hurdles since I have only run (the latter) twice now … but I am confident that I will have a handle on this race before long.” 

In the same race but without the hurdles, senior Kyle Williams edged out a Harper College opponent by .10 seconds to win the men’s 400-meter dash in 51.00. Wheaton junior Bailey Wysocki also came out victorious in the women’s 400 meter dash with a time of 1:01.90, followed closely by junior Rachel Holzrichter who came in second in 1:02.35. 

Freshman distance runner Rachel Thomson barely came away with first in the women’s 800-meter run with a time of 2:23.18. 

“As the gun went off, I realized that the wind was definitely going to be a frienemy in my 800-meter race,” Thomson said. “The first lap consisted mainly of confusion as I was pushed in all different directions by the wind. Going into the second lap, I tried to focus on the girl’s feet in front of me and finally decided that I did not want to finish second. I caught up to the girl within only 50 meters of the finish, adding a little drama, and by the grace of God came out with a win.” 

In the men’s 1500-meter race, junior Nathan Knautz and senior James Waterman worked their way up to the front of the leading pack before taking over midway through the third lap. Knautz and Waterman picked up the pace in the final lap to clock in at 4:12.33 and 4:13.42 respectively. The Thunder men took four of the top five spots in the race. 

Sophomores Emily Guimont and Brendan Cole took first in the women’s and men’s pole vaults (2.75 meters and 4.42 meters). In the women’s triple jump, the Thunder took first through third place, with sophomore Hannah Considine winning with a total of 10.25 meters, sophomore Annalise Bachman finishing second with 9.84 meters and freshman Tabitha Evans on her heels for third with 9.83 meters. 

The Thunder enjoyed numerous successes, and the team remains focused on grinding through the physically demanding season of spring training. Lannen said, “Right now for the distance squad we are still early in our season. We are for the most part coming back from down weeks and resets. … This part can be a little frustrating as you try to gauge your fitness and trust that with more training the times will come down.” 

Tommy Cole gave a perspective from the sprinters. “We actually just started practicing outside last week, which makes me happy,” he said. “We have been forced to do treadmill workouts in the SRC which restrains us from getting in the best condition that we can be in.” 

However, Cole noted some positives. “One thing I have benefited from indoors is practicing my hurdling technique since I still needed to get used to the college height.” 

Sophomore Erin Mock concurred with the joys of practicing outdoors. “The Wheaton sprinter girls are working hard! We are finally able to train outdoors, which has been great for us. We have a really great group of girls that are able to encourage one another and push each other to do our best! We are looking forward to continuing to train hard and seeing our times drop.” 

The Thunder has shown team unity, even throughout training and races.Thomson summed up the benefits and pains of training. 

“I’d say I’m definitely in the building stage of my training. I seem to find higher mileage and harder workouts every time I open my log,” Thomson joked. “But the most important part of my training comes from encounters with my coach, Wally. It is here where we work on my roar, my confident exclamations and my Wally hugs.” Thomson continued, “My roar is not quite there yet, and my hugs will never compare, but the claws are out and I’m ready for what this week brings!”

The Wheaton track team will look to intensify their roar as they host the Wheaton Invitational on Saturday, April 5th in McCully Stadium. 

Tommy Cole gave a perspective from the sprinters. “We actually just started practicing outside last week, which makes me happy,” he said. “We have been forced to do treadmill workouts in the SRC which restrains us from getting in the best condition that we can be in.” 

However, Cole noted some positives. “One thing I have benefited from indoors is practicing my hurdling technique since I still needed to get used to the college height.” 

Sophomore Erin Mock concurred with the joys of practicing outdoors. “The Wheaton sprinter girls are working hard! We are finally able to train outdoors, which has been great for us. We have a really great group of girls that are able to encourage one another and push each other to do our best! We are looking forward to continuing to train hard and seeing our times drop.” 

The Thunder has shown team unity, even throughout training and races.Thomson summed up the benefits and pains of training.

“I’d say I’m definitely in the building stage of my training. I seem to find higher mileage and harder workouts every time I open my log,” Thomson joked. “But the most important part of my training comes from encounters with my coach, Wally. It is here where we work on my roar, my confident exclamations and my Wally hugs.” Thomson continued, “My roar is not quite there yet, and my hugs will never compare, but the claws are out and I’m ready for what this week brings!”

The Wheaton track team will look to intensify their roar as they host the Wheaton Invitational on Saturday, April 5th in McCully Stadium.

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