Hamline hosts first home meet

Schools from each collegiate division brought athletes to compete.

Jake Kjos, Senior Reporter

Whipping winds and chilly weather postponed the Hamline Invitational Track Meet to Sunday, April 3. The meet featured multiple schools with differing talent levels from around the area such as the University of Minnesota, Saint John’s and UW-River Falls.

Head track coach Paul Schmaedeke talked about the postponement.

“It was our decision to postpone the meet. If we didn’t go [Sunday] we wouldn’t have had the meet,” he said.

Senior distance runner Chris Lagergren thought it was a good decision to push the meet back a day.

“I ran yesterday and it was cold. I was really happy that it got postponed,” Lagergren said.

The sun covered the track during the meet, and the less intense wind gusts made the conditions much more tolerable. Outside, Domino’s drivers routinely appeared to refill the concessions and provide pizza for the packed stands.

A track record was set early in the day by Abbabiya Simbassa of Team USA Minnesota as he blazed through the 5000 meter run. Simbassa beat the previous record at Hamline’s track by seven seconds, finishing with a time of 13:54.29.

Lagergren talked about what the competition is like at the Hamline Invitational.

“It’s really good, you got division one, division two, and division three schools. It’s always a great meet. You have a slew of great athletes running,” he said.

Schmaedeke listed off some of the teams that create this diversity of programs.

“Minnesota sends a lot of redshirts, UMD is division two, St. Thomas is a perennial contender. There’s pretty good competition,” Schmaedeke said.

The men’s 1500 meter was won for the second consecutive time by a Carleton runner, but first-year Kyle Mehrhof won his section of the race.

Hamline had a positive showing in the field events throughout the day with first-year Bakari Jackson jumping 13.66 meters to win the men’s triple jump. Junior Anthony Tyler placed second in the men’s discus throw, while sophomore Chase Duwenhoegger placed third.

On the women’s side, junior Gabby Koel made an impressive showing and won the women’s discus by a margin of more than three meters. Sophomore Kiana Verdugo followed Koel’s 39.61 meter show with a 36.01 throw of her own to finish fourth. Sophomore Ivannie Robertson finished fourth in the shot put with a throw of 11.11 meters.

The women placed well on the track also. Senior Carolyn Saulsberry finished third in the women’s 100 hurdles while first-year Gabrielle Brown finished sixth. Saulsberry finished fourth in the 100 meter dash with a time of 12.80 seconds. First-year Marissa Fiecke placed second in the 400 meter dash.

The event that drew the biggest crowd around the track was the 3000 meter steeplechase, while fans stood near the water jump to see how the runners navigated it. Senior Ronnie Stimson placed in the top five of the event for the men’s side.

Lagergren talked about the way the team uses this meet to get ready for the future.

“It was just trying to get out there and run some decent times,” Lagergren said. “For the fifteen I just wanted to run, be competitive with some of the guys.

Coach Schmaedeke thought there were positives to be taken from the meet.

“We had some good things happen. Our half-milers were pretty good. It was just fun to be here,” he said. “Every meet there’s gonna be disappointments, people won’t reach their goals.”

Schmaedeke expressed his focus for how the team will grow the rest of the track season.

“We just wanna keep getting better every week. Our goal is to be the best team we can be for the MIAC,” Schmaedeke said.

Hamline’s next meet will be away at the St.John’s/St. Ben’s invitational on Sat. April 9. Their next and final home meet will be a month from now for the Hamline Unsaintly Meet on May 5 and 6.