Gustie Track & Field Looks Forward To Indoor Season Opener This Weekend

Posted on January 11th, 2018 by

ST. PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus men’s and women’s track and field teams are set to kick off the 2018 indoor season Friday at “The Opener” on the campus of the University of St. Thomas. The meet is set to begin at 4 p.m. at the Anderson Fieldhouse.


Gustavus Head Coach Dale Bahr, the 2017 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Outdoor Coach of the Year, is set to open his ninth season leading both the Gustie men’s and women’s track and field teams. 

“It is nice to get back, we had a few weeks to work in the fall, starting November 20,” said Bahr. “The energy is definitely good and everybody is healthy for the most part. We are starting to get into the technical parts of everything with the jumping, hurdles, and throws. Our fall training is more basic strength and conditioning. So anytime we’re able to start hitting the hurdles, going over bars, and throwing stuff, the atmosphere changes and it feels a lot more like track and field now than it did in the fall.”


The Gustavus men placed ninth of 11 teams last season at the MIAC Indoor Championships, and improved to take 3rd at the Outdoor Championships. Michael Hensch (Jr., North Branch, Minn.) headlines the returning group as the 2017 MIAC Outstanding Field Athlete after winning the hammer throw and set a Gustavus record and career-best javelin throw of 206-08. Hensch went on to represent the Gusties at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, placing 17th in the javelin and received USTFCCCA All-Region recognition.

“It is going to be interesting to see what happens because we lost such a talented and experienced group of seniors,” Bahr commented on the men’s group. “Other than Hensch, most of our points came from our seniors. However, we did bring in a good recruiting class with quite a few numbers and some talent as well.”

The men’s squad returns 24 student-athletes, boasting 19 upperclassmen. Ryley Sandberg (Sr., Polk City, Iowa) and Ben Madigan (Jr., Kohler, Wis.) both return as members of last years’s school record  4×800-meter relay time of 7:43.41 at the Outdoor Championships. 

“Looking at some of the returners, middle-distance is going to do pretty well. Ryley Sandberg was part of the record-breaking 4×8 last year, as was Ben Madigan, so those two look to be running strong right now.”

13 first-years also make up the 39-man team. Andrew Stumbo (Fy., Boone, Iowa) turned in a strong cross country season during the fall, while Coach Bahr mentioned Taylor Rooney (Fy., Andover, Minn.) as another freshman to watch.

“Rooney is a very talented individual that we brought in. He is very raw in his technique. He is somebody that down the road I think could break some high jump records. He was also a very good hurdler in high school and he should definitely be able to contribute to the team,” Bahr said.

Bahr concluded previewing the men by mentioning several others that he will look to contribute:

“Looking at some of the distance guys, Alex Wischnack (Jr., Norwood Young America, Minn.) is our top returner and hopefully he can stay healthy. Nelson Finne (Jr., Elgin, Minn.) scored last year in the multis, looking for good things from him, I know he has been working hard. Matt Montplaisir (So., Buffalo, Minn.) has been working hard and you can see he has put on some strength, hopefully he is able to score some points for us in the jumps.”

Keith Maxon (Jr., New Richland, Minn.) has been throwing pretty well, I think it will exciting to see what he can do. I think he will do well in the weight throw and the hammer during outdoors. Bobby Verchota (Sr., Hastings, Minn.) didn’t score for us last year, but every year you seem to get a few guys that put in the work and he definitely has and is looking really strong right now. He is somebody that we will look to score in the open 400 for sure.”



“The great thing is that we have a really young group of talented individuals,” Bahr said of the women’s squad.

The women’s team has 15 first-years to go along with 16 upperclassmen. Among the returners includes USTFCCCA All-Region nominee Marisa Morgan (Sr., Rockford, Ill.), Katy Keelin (So., Burnsville, Minn.) an All-Conference thrower, while the team finished in 11th place in both the MIAC Indoor and Outdoor Championships last season. 

“Katy Keelin was throwing so well at the end of last year in the hammer throw that she almost qualified for nationals. We would expect for her be at that elite level of hammer throwers this year. Lily Anderson (So., Waterville, Minn.) dealt with some injuries her freshman year and is healthy now and looking great, so we’re very excited to see what she can do. Lydia Hayes (Sr., Decorah, Iowa) is one of our senior captains, we expect for her to get a few more points this year. Abbie Schnabel (Jr., Hamburg, Minn.) is another that has been putting together some decent cross country and track seasons, along with Tierney Winter (So., Waterville, Minn.),” Bahr commented on some of the women returners.

“Some of our returning sprinters, such as Adonya Gray (So., Burnsville, Minn.) and McKayla Stowell (Jr., Le Sueur, Minn.) have some good experience along with the whole group. If we can get them to gel as a unit, we can put together some very good relays.”

“We kind of filled a bunch of holes this year that we haven’t had the last couple of seasons, jumping being one of those holes. Tyra Ericson (Fy., Eden Prairie, Minn.) is one that will help in the high jump. Rachael Studer (Fy., Maple Grove, Minn.) was a very good hurdler in high school, so we are looking to possibly get some points from her. Also, Bella Klabough (Fy., Elysian, Minn. ) should help in the throws and Kourtney Kulseth (Fy., New Richland, Minn.) is another that looks great in practice. Paige Patterson (Fy., Red Wing, Minn.) could very possibly help us out in the jumps, along with Elizabeth Whitcomb (Fy., Mendota Heights, Minn.) should also be able to contribute.



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