Luther track hosts Wartburg for duels
A rivalry was renewed on May 3 as Luther College track and field hosted Wartburg College. For the last decade, Luther and Wartburg have competed in a duel meet during the season.
The latest chapter in the rivalry ended with Wartburg coming out on top over Luther. The Knights beat the Norse men’s team 120-72 and the women’s team 127-56.
But the duel may be more for giving athletes one last tune-up before competing in the conference championship.
“We love the competition aspect of it, and it is a competitve meet,” Head Coach Jeff Wettach said. “Considering how good they are, we did quite well.”
On the men’s team, Nick Clark (‘13) placed first in the 100 and 200 meter dashes. The Luther ‘A’ relay team in the 4x100 meter relay also placed first, with one of the fastest times that event has ever recorded. The team consisted of Clark, Cole Hocker (‘15), Henry Jungbauer (‘15) and Mark Hoyer (‘13).
Despite placing first in only these three events, the Norse still placed high in other events and recorded 72 points on the day.
“Wartburg is a good conference team, one of the best in Division III,” Wettach said.
As for the women’s team, there was only one first place finish for the Norse. Desi Mantey (‘13) placed first in the pole vault.
Similar to the men’s team, there were strong showings and close second place finishes as well. Leah Broderick (‘15) finished second in the high jump and Christina Storlie (‘13) also finished second in the 3000 meter run.
It was a good showing from the Knights women’s team, and Coach Wettach gave them a sign of respect on their team.
“They are the best team in Division III,” Wettach said of Wartburg’s women’s team. “They are that good.”
All is not lost for the Norse despite the outcome of the duel against Wartburg. Instead, the teams are now preparing for their biggest event of the year: the IIAC Championships.
“It’s the point of the season where we expect and train for our top performances,” Wettach said. “The school year is winding down, but the track season is building up.”
The team has been practicing and preparing for a strong finish this weekend in Dubuque, Iowa at the IIAC Championships. The Norse had a strong showing in last year’s Championships and are looking to break out toward the top of the standings.
“We’ve been pushing our athletes to the next level,” Wettach said. “They have responded well all year for us.”
The IIAC Decathlon will kick off Thursday May 10 with the Championships continuing on Friday and Saturday.
After the Championships, any Norse athletes close to qualifying for the NCAA Division III Championships will compete in a Last Chance Qualifier Meet May 17-18.
The NCAA Division III National Championships are on May 24-26 in Claremont, Calif.