The DePauw men and women’s track team stepped up to their biggest challenge of the season, as they competed in the DePauw Indoor Invitational on Saturday at The Indoor Track Center. The women finished in fourth place and the men finished in fifth.
The men’s team finished with 57 points, which landed them in fifth place, most notably behind the winning side of Rose-Hulman University, who put up 142.5 points. The men were led by strong performances from junior thrower Andrew Saunders who finished second in the weight throw with a distance of 15.00m/49-2.5 and freshman Jordan Booker’s finished in third place in the 600 meters with a time of 1:24:84. Saunders’s new personal record earned him second in team history in the event.
“We had some great performances from the younger guys on the team both in sprints and distance,” reiterates sophomore distance runner Zach Batt. Batt paced the Tigers in the 3000 meter run as he ran a personal best in the event with a time of 8:58.98. “It was a successful meet with lots to look forward to from here.”
Meanwhile, the women’s side finished with 75 points which was good enough for fourth place behind Rose-Hulman, Rhodes College, and Kentucky Wesleyan College, who won the meet with 128 points. The women were led by three first place finishes from sophomore Gabby Coffing in the 1000 meters with a time of 3:26.62, first-year Haley Thompson in the mile with time of 5:40.93, and senior Claudia Monnett in the 3000 meter with a time of 10:19.08.
Monnett’s performance was particularly noteworthy, as she held off Centre’s Annie Rodenfels towards the end of the race, and also set a new school record in the process. “It was a good race for her,” head coach Kori Stoffregen said. “She’s really starting to show some good fitness at this point in the season.”
The competition at this invitational was much stronger than any the Tigers have seen this season, which really pushed the runners to perform better. “The increased level of competition we saw helped us really feel as if it’s go time,” senior sprinter Amanda Weber said. “This meet had a lot of teams with a lot of talent, and we had to step up and show them what we had.” The competition pushed the runners in every event on Saturday, which helped into achieving the strong times that they posted.
The team’s performance this past weekend has given them confidence going into the rest of their indoor track season, as the conference championship is coming up in only three weeks. “We’re working hard in practice, we’re staying focused in practice, and each week we’re getting better,” Stoffregen said. “We feel pretty good for the rest of our season.”
With a season that spans a little longer than a month and a half, the Tigers have shown that they are ready to make an impact at conference this year in their small sample size. Before the conference meet, the team will compete in another home meet on Saturday, Feb. 18, and a final away meet at Anderson on Saturday, Feb. 25.