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ISSUE 121 VOL 13 PUBLISHED 3/7/2008

Track teams host final meets before NCAAs

By Monica Southworth
Staff Writer


Friday, March 7, 2008

Last weekend, the men's and women's track and field teams hosted qualifier meets at Tostrud Center. Friday evening the women played host to several other squads in the Ole Open, while the men opened their doors to competition Saturday afternoon for the St. Olaf Qualifier.

With the upcoming MIAC Championships just around the corner, the meets provided the last opportunity for athletes to attain qualifying times for conference competition.

Though most athletes focused on qualifying for events or improving their times, the Oles still managed a couple victories. Sophomore pole vaulter Amie Fillmore, who had already provisionally qualified for the national meet as well as the MIACs, vaulted 3.45 meters. In the 1000-meter run, David Green '09 took first with a time of 2:33.36.

John Schantzen '10 threw 16.33 meters in the shot put, claiming first over the other contenders. Schantzen said he was a little under the weather during the meet, but he still competed in both the weight throw and shot put. The past week, he said he had been trying a new technique during practice.

"Coach told me I could pass, but if you're enlisted in multiple events, you can't scratch an earlier event to compete in a later one," Schantzen explained. "I saved myself for the shot put."

For his efforts, Schantzen shared the MIAC Field Athlete of the Week award with Chris Eisette of St. Mary's University. His personal-best throw is the best in the MIAC this season, as well as sixth in Division III and second all-time among St. Olaf throwers.

Junior Ryan Doyle took second in the men's high jump to Jamal Currica of Iowa Central. Doyle jumped 1.97 meter,.05 meter short of first place. Doboul Ruon '11 finished third and David Swanson '08 finished fifth place in the mile run. Ruon finished with a time of 4:20.33 and Swanson finished at 4:24.88.

Swanson, Ruon and Doyle are among a host of Oles who qualified for the MIAC meet and will be counted on to help St. Olaf improve on their seventh place finish from a year ago.

For the women's team, Alison Millis '11 finished fifth in the 400-meter dash. Becca Neuger '11 finished third in the triple jump at 9.94 meters. In the 3,000-meter run, Annie Knutson '09 took fourth with a time of 11:06.19, followed closely by Jackie Kelly '08 at 11:12.22. While Fillmore will be favored in the pole vault, the team's runners will be relied upon at the MIAC meet, where the Oles finished fifth last season.

"The meet was everyone's last chance to qualify for the MIAC meet," Schantzen said. "Almost all of the MIAC schools attended and a couple out-of-state schools as well."

This meet was men's head coach Bill Thornton's last indoor meet with the team before retiring at the end of the year. Thornton is in his 38th season heading up the squad.

"He was a little emotional, but very happy," Schantzen said.

The MIAC Championships will be held Wednesday through Saturday at St. John's University.

The first meet of the outdoor season for the men's team is April 4 at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. The women's team will begin the outdoor season at UW -- River Falls.





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