Track and Field Looks Forward To Indoor Season Opener Friday

Posted on January 10th, 2019 by

SAINT PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus men’s and women’s track and field teams are set to kick off the 2019 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 is set to open his 10th season leading both the Gustie men’s and women’s track and field teams. 

“It’s been good to get back into things, we had four weeks before break when we practiced and then just started up again this past week,” said Bahr. “We have quite a few returners on the team but also a lot of new faces and the first few weeks have been good for all our young athletes to just see how it’s done. We’re trying to help them get more adapted to a college training versus what they had maybe done in high school.”

When asked about the level of competition and talent he saw during the first few weeks coach Bahr said, “We’re moving in the right direction. We graduated a fairly small class and brought in a ton of new faces who are ready to go. From what I’ve seen so far I think we have a few individuals who are going to pick up where they left off last year and I also see a lot of eagerness from a wide array of athletes who are setting some pretty lofty goals for themselves which is good.”

Both the men’s and women’s teams have named captains with Michael Hensch, Alex Wischnack, and Nelson Finne leading the men, while Abbie Schnabel, Lily Anderson, and Bailey Van Den Heuvel captain the women’s team.


Last year, the Gustavus men placed sixth of 11 teams at the MIAC Indoor Championships and then took seventh at the Outdoor Championships. Hensch and Taylor Rooney will headline the men’s squad as both are returning All-Americans for the Gusties.

“Two of our big returners this year are going to be our All-Americans from last year. Hensch is a lead by example type of guy, it’s his second year as a captain and people can see he knows what he’s doing. Then Rooney has a ton of aspirations to get back to Nationals and he’s someone who’s very driven and nose to the grindstone. Both of them are extremely hard workers and it rubs off on others.”

Last season during the NCAA Indoor Championships Hensch received All-America status in the shot put, finishing sixth with a throw of 53-05.50. The USTFCCCA All-Region honoree was the shot put champion at the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Indoor Championships with a career-best toss of 56 feet. Rooney qualified for the 60-meter hurdle finals with a preliminary time of 8.20. Then on day two, he turned in a time of 8.21 to finish seventh and be named All-American. A USTFCCCA All-Region honoree, Rooney previously received ‘Outstanding Performance of the Meet’ in the 60-meter hurdles at the conference championships, setting a MIAC Indoor record time of 8.15. 

To supplement the efforts of Rooney and Hensch, the men have a large team this year with 56 athletes in total, including 22 first-years.

“We have a young men’s team this year so we have been moving some people around and trying a few new things but we also have a lot of athletes we know will have solid roles on our team this year,” said Bahr. “Jack Blaney in the sprints, Troy Eknitiphong and Matt Montplaisir in the jumps, and Finne in the multis should all have a solid year for us. I think we have a few first-years who are going to help us out right away as well. Alexander Dumoulin should do well in long and triple jumps and Steven Orzolek should be a good shotputter for us a first-year.”

“We also have a big group of mid-distance and distance runners including a lot of seniors who bring good work ethic and look like they’re on track to have a breakthrough year.”



The Gustie women return three-all conference members from last years MIAC Outdoor Championships as well as a few school record holders. The three returning all-conference members are Alex Anderson (high jump), Katie Keelin (Hammer throw), and Kayla Stowell (100-meter) while Stowell (60-meter), Abbie Schnabel (800-meter), and Tierney Winter(1500-meter) all hold school records.

“There’s a slew of athletes coming back this year who have done well for us. Keelin is a conference champion and she will be back helping us with the throws along with Van Den Heuvel. Alex Anderson finished top three in both the indoor and outdoor Championship meets last year in the high jump and we have a first-year in Halley Brocker who should have a good year in the high jump as well. In sprints, Stowell will be good in sprints and Lily Anderson will be solid in the 200 and 400.

The women’s 61 athlete roster is comprised of 18 first-years, and coach Bahr sees some of them stepping in right away and competing at a high level.

“We just have so many young runners who are really talented and if they show up and compete they could surprise some people. I think that, speaking for both the men and women, we have so many new faces that could make a big difference for us and  both teams should improve this year.”


On the outlook for the season coach Bahr said, “Our athletes just got together on Tuesday night and discussed team and personal goals, and as coaches we do our best to help enable them to reach those goals. We make sure that the effort and attitude we want to see is there but our athletes are great at holding each other accountable and setting goals together. We don’t have wins and losses and we preach that we want to see our athletes trending upward the entire season so that they’re peaking at the right time and our athletes are good about understanding that.”




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