Track and Field 2020 Indoor Season Preview

Posted on January 23rd, 2020 by

SAINT PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus track and field teams will be back in action for their second meet of the season Friday as they travel to Northfield for the St. Olaf Quad. The meet is set to begin at the Tostrud Center at 4 p.m.

Live Results/Meet Information

Head Coach Aaron Lund is in his first season at the helm of the Gustie track and field programs after most recently serving as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Whittier College (Calif.) for the previous three years.

“Gustavus has always had a strong tradition in track and field,” said Lund. “Under the direction of great leadership throughout this institution, this campus community has incredible momentum right now. I want to recognize this momentum and continue to build off of our tradition of success.”

Last year, the Gustavus men finished fifth of 11 teams at the MIAC Indoor Championships and then took third at the Outdoor Championships, while the women took fifth of 12 teams at the Indoor Championships and fourth at the Outdoor Championships.

When asked about his approach to coaching, Lund said, “My philosophy as a coach starts with a whole-person approach. This holistic development focuses on the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being of each athlete. I believe this coaching staff goes above and beyond in this regard and truly makes us stand out among many other colleges and universities. If each athlete feels like they are completely supported by the team and campus community in these aspects, I believe they will become the best versions of themselves and be able to maximize their potential on the track.”

“My coaching philosophy also aligns with Gustavus’ core values of excellence, community, justice, service and faith. I believe it is very important to identify leaders in the program that not only live by these core values, but aspire to grow this team in these values too. Matthew Montplaisir, Bridger Pavelka, and Taylor Rooney are leading the men’s team, while Lily Anderson, Katie Keelin, and Tierney Winter captain the women’s team. I am very excited to work with these captains and I feel like they are the right leaders at the right time to start this new era of Track & Field at Gustavus.”

The Gusties had their first full-team meet last week with a select few athletes having also competed last month. The Gusties will look to a few athletes to set the bar in the early goings of the season, with some already making their mark.

On the men’s side Rooney has cemented himself atop the national leaderboards, running an 8.03 in the 60m hurdles at the Chuck Petersen Open at MSU-Mankato last month which is .08 seconds faster than the next best time in the NCAA this season. Steven Orzolek is also off to a hot start, as the sophomore currently holds the top toss in the shot put this year in the MIAC, with a throw of 15.51 meters. Montplaisir and Xander DuMoulin will look to post big numbers in the horizontal jumps this year, with both men also competing in the short sprints. Lastly, Garet Grant and Andrew Stumbo will look to bring their success from cross country in the fall to the track, as both garnered All-Conference honors and advanced to compete in the NCAA Championships.

For the women, they return a strong group of throwers led by Keelin and Annalee Olson-Sola. They are both coming first place finishes at the MIAC Outdoor Championships last spring, as Olson-Sola took the top spot in the shot put, while Keelin won the hammer throw and currently sits at the top of the MIAC for the weight throw this indoor season. Winter is coming off an All-American season in cross country, as she finished in 18th place at the NCAA Championships with a time of 21:51.1, while Kourtney Kulseth also looks forward to a strong season, as she put up a time of 10:37.79 in the 3000m last week at MSU-Mankato to take third place. DeAnna Giles will look to lead the horizontal jumpers, as she finished in fourth place last year at the Indoor Championships with a mark of 10.78m. Rachel Studer and Anderson will look to anchor the sprint groups, as Studer tied a school record with a time of 9.58 in the 60 meter hurdles last weekend, while Anderson is currently in the top three in the conference in both the 200m and 400m.

“Not only are these athletes leading by example on the track, but they are also improving team culture and unity by incorporating more team bonding activities throughout the season. As we build off of our core values, tradition of success, and the incredible talent already in this program, I truly believe that team chemistry is our final piece of the puzzle. If we have over one hundred individuals all moving in the same direction with the same team goals, I don’t believe there is a limit to what this program can become.”

Coach Lund also talked highly about his coaching staff, highlighting the influence of their role in the program “I think it’s important to highlight this incredible coaching staff as well.” For the mentors of the athletes in field events, Lund said, “Tom Thorkelson is a graduate of Gustavus and has been a coach here for 35 years. He has coached over 60 MIAC champions in the throws, over 55 All-Americans, an Olympic Trials qualifier, and a national field event athlete of the year, having also been named both conference and regional coach of the year. Fred Berg is in his 18th year coaching pole vault at Gustavus and has coached many conference champions and All-Conference performers and has a reputation of being one of the best pole vault coaches in the midwest.

On the coaches leading the track events, Lund stated, “Brenden Huber is the Head Cross Country Coach and is in his 14th season leading the distance athletes. He has coached numerous All-Americans, conference champions, and All-Conference athletes and has established wonderful momentum from this past cross-country season. Becki Staley has made her mark in the program already in her fourth season and brings in a full resume. She was a 13-time All-American, two-time National Champion, Olympic Trials qualifier and was just inducted into the University of Florida Hall of Fame.  Nathan Harder is in his second year leading hurdles, multi’s and high jump. He brings a winner’s mentality as a conference champion in the 60-meter hurdles, 110-meter hurdles and 4x200m relay. He is very knowledgeable and technically sound in his event specific coaching and is currently guiding Taylor Rooney to one of the greatest hurdle careers in school history. Athletes on this team get a coaching staff that has the knowledge and experience of a DI program combined with a staff that loves the mission of Gustavus and NCAA DIII. This serves our mission of achieving a healthy balance of competing at a high level while still enjoying a full college experience.”

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