For many at Lewis and Clark, our historically bad winter was little more than a reason to stay bundled up and avoid going to class. However, for the LC Track and Field team, it has meant that their promising season stumbled out of the starting blocks. With an early meet in Pullman, WA canceled, the Pio’s full squad will get back on the track Feb. 12 at the Dempsey Open in Seattle.
Boasting one of the largest teams on campus, the Pioneers have a chance to build off of a successful 2016 season. One that saw sixth-year Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Keith Woodard oversee the qualification of Deion Mock and Kodie Artner for the 2016 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships. While many of the team’s most accomplished athletes have graduated, a strong offseason program has provided a platform to build on.
“The speed has definitely increased on the track and we have gotten stronger in the weight room” Rachelle Locey ’19 explained. “Our team has also grown closer together, and we have done a great job encouraging one another.”
With only four seniors on the roster, the 2017 Pioneers are young, hungry and have incredible depth in all the event categories.
On the Women’s side returning Sarah Bucknovitz ’17, Frances Swanson ’17 and Madison Sullivan’17 look to set the tone for the rest of the team. Bucknovitz, an NWC Championships top-three placer in last year’s hammer throw, is a reliable and experienced anchor in the throwing events. Swanson, on the other hand, looks to establish herself as one of the top long distance runners in the conference. Renee Despyne ’18 in just her second year of competition, will try to build on the 12.97 she ran in the 100 meters at last year Pacific Preview. After a strong offseason, Locey is determined to set personal bests in both long jump and triple jump.
On the Men’s side, a senior-less group is looking to build on strong performances at the NWC championships. David Lovitz ‘18 finished fourth at the tournament in the 1,500 and 100 meters and fifth in the long jump. Earning him a total of 5,406 points, the eighth-highest point total in LC history. Not to be outdone, Noah Avery ’19 amassed 6,068 points, enough to place him sixth of all time. Avery accomplished this feat by placing top four in the long jump, high jump, pole vault, shot put, discus, javelin, and the 100 meters. Avery is a part of a stellar class that includes standout sprinter Bryce Johnson ’19 and long distance specialist Ryan Nguyen ’19. All of whom will play an important role if the Pioneers are going to meet their own high standards.
“A long-term goal for us is to win the conference again,” Locey said. “We are all in better shape mentally and physically, and are ready to attack competition season.”
The Pioneers will play host on March 17 and 18 for their annual Spring Break Open.