The Red Raider track and field team started their Easter break with a mix of races, throws, jumps, personal bests and plenty of time spent bracing themselves against the wind at the annual Red Raider Open on April 13 and 14. At their home meet, Raiders and their competitors battled wind speeds of over thirty miles an hour with gusts of forty-five miles an hour on both Wednesday and Thursday. Despite the unexpected competition of Mother Nature, the Raiders prevailed and took home numerous first-place finishes and best marks on the season.
Northwestern’s women’s team took home four first-place finishes at their home meet. Freshman Emma Haley started the meet strong for the Raiders, winning the 5,000m run in an outdoor personal best of 19:46.23. Freshman Emma Zoet (100m hurdles) and junior Abby Clarke (400m hurdles) joined Haley in their respective victories on Thursday. On the field, senior Caroline Van Berkum won the women’s discus throw with a mark of 36.97m.
“The wind was really challenging, but our team still competed really well and showed a lot of toughness,” said Haley. “It was really fun to see my teammates working hard despite the conditions.”
For the men’s team, senior Joseph Kunert led the charge by taking first place in the men’s 5,000m run on Wednesday evening. His teammate, senior Levi Cross, joined him right afterwards in winning the 10,000m run on the track. Juniors Bryce Paulsen and Ben Thelander took home a one-two finish for the Raiders in the decathlon, scoring 5525 and 5255, respectively. Sophomore Wyatt Pryor shined again in the men’s 400m dash, taking his home-meet title in a time of 54.19 seconds. Junior James Gilbert (long) and sophomore Lorenzo Jones (triple) both won their jumps, while sophomore Joe Callahan took care of business on the field, winning the men’s discus throw.
“I was very proud of the men and women on our track and field team for competing in adverse conditions. said head coach Scott Bahrke. “We didn’t complain but went out and did our best. I want to publicly thank our over 100 volunteers for their help on Wednesday and Thursday. We were able to run another outstanding meet thanks to their efforts. They were the MVPs last week!”
Both the men’s and women’s teams will compete this weekend on April 23 at the South Dakota Challenge, hosted by the University of South Dakota. The Raiders will then travel south the following week to compete in the Grand View Viking Classic on April 29th, and the infamous Drake Relays from April 27 – April 30. Track