With Augustana being picked to finish 2nd in the CCIW this season, the Vikings look to prove the world wrong as they start their journey to winning a conference championship at the St. Ambrose Invite this weekend.
When talking to Coach Olsen about the team’s chemistry and confidence level, Olsen had plenty of good things to say.
“I can’t prove it, but I’d bet our chemistry is the best in the country! We get leadership from more than just seniors which makes our team chemistry so exceptional,” Olsen says.
This is Coach Olsen’s last season as the coach of track and field at Augustana but has always kept the same attitude towards his runners.
“Our mindset is that every time you turn around, we are in the hunt to win, whether it is jumpers, vaulters, throwers, sprinters, distance runners, or hurdlers. We have great balance and we’re talented. We will just go and celebrate what we get to do, and the times and heights and distances will take care of themselves,” Olsen said.
The Vikings really buy into the system Coach Olsen has created here at Augustana and when talking to Senior Captain Andrew Adams about the competition this upcoming weekend, Adams was all business.
“Before every meet, our coach makes it clear that we only focus on blue and gold. We don’t care about what other teams are doing, just what we are doing. We’ve been training since Week 0 fall term and if everyone does their part this invite should go very well,” Adams states.
It’s a big responsibility being not only a senior on the team but a captain as well. When talking to Adams, he explained it’s all about guiding the way for the younger classmen.
“As a senior, I believe that my role on the team is to show the freshmen what it means to be on one of the greatest track programs in the country. As a captain, this role expands to being a great role model, whether it’s on or off the track,” Adams said.
This weekend, the Vikings finished 1st out of 5 teams which featured multiple 1st place finishes. Sophomore, Justin Verlinden finished first in the 800 meter run while Junior, Brandon Wilkerson took first in the 1-mile run.
For the 4×400 Meter Relay, the 4 person team of Nick Harvey, Austin Wheeler, Josh Yamamoto, and Alex LaMendola took 1st. Senior, Travon Aldridge also had a 1st place finish for Long Jump along with Senior, Ethan Ehlers who placed 1st in Shot Put.