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Titan track succeeds early with depth in sprinters, youth

Titan track succeeds early with depth in sprinters, youth

After a successful indoor season that saw the varsity men’s track and field team winning the Fenton Invite for the seventh straight year and finishing second in Conference, head coach Kurt Hasenstein says the team is now focused and prepared for the now underway outdoor season.

During the Fenton Invite Feb. 23, the energy was intense. With the team wanting to keep its winning streak alive, the Titans gave  it all they had, especially because of the poor conditions of the track, according to senior Austin Dickholtz.

“The track is our least favorite,” Dickholtz said. “It is very tight, slippery and bad to run on, but we wanted to keep our track meet standing for most track meets won in a row, so we ran our best.”

Success at the Fenton Invite led the Titans to the Conference meet March 15, where they placed second. This is an improvement from last year, when they placed third. Hasenstein feels that the meet showed the team’s potential as it was making preparations for the outdoor season.

“We made it a lot closer to the front end against Evanston than in the past, so things went well for us,” Hasenstein said.

Before conference, junior Luke Pilliod had predicted the team to place in second or third. According to Pilliod, with indoor conference being one of the biggest meets they have had, it gives him a lot of motivation to do better.

“We had to really prepare more mentally, as well as physically,” Pilliod said. “Conference indoor is the first big meet that leads into the outdoor [season].”

According to Pilliod, the biggest advantage the team has is its strong depth of sprinters.

“It’s nice because injuries hurt us but they don’t completely destroy us,” Pilliod said.

Pilliod says that when he wasn’t able to compete, his backup runner was still able to help break one of the teams’ relay records by 2.5 seconds.

“Myself and [junior] Sean Alexander were injured recently [and couldn’t compete] in the same meet that we were trying to break the four by four record,” Pilliod said. “Luckily for us the sprinters that replaced us were still able to break the indoor field house record.”

According to senior Malcom Engel, he thinks the team has improved from last year and hopes that it sends a couple more people to State.

“Some of these kids are growing, getting stronger, and getting faster,” Engel said. “The freshmen and sophomores are pretty fast. That surprised me.”

The outdoor season started after Spring break, so the runners are starting to adapt to the new setting, says sophomore Peter Wassmann.

“It’s adjustment from indoor to outdoor,” Wassmann said. “But it is getting better now that the weather is getting nicer, and you can get into outdoor shape.”

According to Engel, he prefers the outdoor season to the indoor because of the way the track is set up.

“Indoor the track is smaller, and the turns are tighter,” Engel said. “Outdoor it is one big loop instead of running multiple laps.”

According to Dickholtz, the team’s goals are to do well in the tough invites coming up.

“The team will keep improving as it has been for the last couple of months,” Dickholtz said. “I’m very excited to see how well we do at the end.”

Men’s track and field competes in the State meet May 16-17. The team also has invites against Maine South and Rolling Meadows on April 30, and on May 3 they hold the John Davis Titan Invite. With many meets to come, Hasenstein says that he is primarily focused on the safety of the runners and getting them used to the new environment.

“We have to be smart that we aren’t overdoing it in cold weather and be really patient,” Hasenstein said. “The first few invitationals outside we aren’t as concerned with the team’s scores but instead getting guys into the meets and making sure they get an opportunity to compete.”


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