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ISSUE 121 VOL 16 PUBLISHED 4/11/2008

Spring Preview, Men's Track and Field: Thornton: end of an era

By Monica Southworth
Staff Writer

Friday, April 11, 2008

As the men's track and field team moves to the outdoor season, 11 athletes are also preparing to graduate, including several key contributors.

During the indoor season, sophomore John Schantzen finished second in the MIAC and seventh in Nationals. Schantzen expressed hope to go to Nationals once again and to claim another conference championship in the outdoor season after winning last season.

In terms of changes for outdoor, Anderson said that the sprints will be slightly longer and that there are fewer mid-distance races. Because the events are being held outdoors, the field events will now have the hammer event, javelin and discus. Outdoor track events include the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, 1500-meter run, 10,000-meter run, 110-meter hurdles, 400-meter hurdles, 3000-meter steeplechase, mile relay and the decathlon.

"It will be more comfortable outside once the weather gets a little nicer but the fresh air is refreshing," Anderson said.

Head coach Bill Thornton has been coaching at St. Olaf for 35 years, though this year will be his last. His replacement has not yet been announced. Assistants Rob McCarthy and Mark Thornton will continue on in the fall.

"St. Olaf has been very fortunate to have Thunder (Coach Thornton's nickname) leading the track and field and cross-country programs over the last three or more decades. He is a great leader and has coached many great athletes," Anderson said.

"It's hard to imagine what St. Olaf track and field will look like without him. I know that the athletic department has been conducting interviews with a number of strong candidates."

The 2008 MIAC Outdoor Championships will be held May 9 -- 10 in St. Paul, Minn., and the NCAA Qualifying Meet will be held May 15 in La Crosse, Wisc. The men's team will only have one home meet during the outdoor season at the end of April.

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