Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Track teams compete in Nationals and gains records

Over the past weekend, the Augustana men’s and women’s track and field teams participated in the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships in Birmingham, Alabama. Both teams had participants earn All-America honors.
On the men’s side, senior thrower, Ethan Ehlers, earned All-America honors for the second time in the shot put, finishing eighth in the nation with a throw of 53′ 3½”. The 4×400 relay team of all seniors, including Josh Yamamoto, Jeffrey SwansonAlex LaMendola, and Kyle Hucker, finished fifth with a time of  3:15.94. And senior, Travon Aldridge, earned his first All-America honor with an eighth-place finish in triple jump at 47′ 11¾”.
“I would have to say the event went better than expected,” Aldridge said after the meet. “We, as a team, knew what we could do if we were at our best, but we just had to prove that we could do it. I knew our 4×4 team would perform well, but Ethan and I didn’t expect to finish in the top-eight. So leaving Alabama with six All-Americans really exceeded our expectations.”
The Vikings men’s squad finished 34th place out of 66 teams in the total standings.
This event also concluded the indoor portion of the season for the men’s team, who have finished third place or higher in five meets so far this year. Aldridge reflected on his team’s successful start to the season.
“I believe the season has been going great so far,” Aldridge said. “It’s definitely been one of our better seasons, and a lot of previous records have been either tied or broken. Also, I can see a lot of individual improvement by each athlete. I believe we are a very good team that’s only going to be better during the outdoor season.”
The men’s team will now turn its attention to head coach Paul Olsen’s 50th and final outdoor season at Augustana, which begins with the Augustana Early Spring Opener at the Knowlton Athletic Complex and Paul V. Olsen Track on Saturday, March 24.
As for the Augustana women’s track and field squad, the 4×400 relay team became the program’s first All-America foursome in the event, finishing seventh in the nation with a time of 3:53.87.
The All-America relay team, which consists of senior, Sydney Zaragoza, and sophomores, Katie Eastburn, Madi Glatz and Sofia Wajner, also set a school record of 3:53.80 in Friday’s preliminaries.
“Looking at all the great athletes that have come through the women’s program here at Augustana, I think everyone on this relay truly feels blessed to be among such women,” Zaragoza said. “Becoming All-Americans is no easy task, and there are countless hours of hard work, sweat and sometimes even a few tears along the way. All of these factors lead us to our success in this event, strengthening us as a whole, and creating a bond that is shared among not only the relay but the whole team.”
Zaragoza hopes to end her track and field career on a high note.
“The goals moving forward are to send more women to nationals, possibly as a team or simply in more individual events,” she said. “I feel that within the four years I have been here, the talent on the team has grown immensely, as well as the work ethic. Every athlete on this team has a drive and a focus about them, and they understand the importance of keeping every woman accountable. We are a strong group in both the sprints and distance events, and I think our potential is limitless.”
The women’s track and field team, led by head coach David Thompson, had indoor national qualifiers in five events.
The women’s team will also be turning its attention to the outdoor portion of the schedule at the Augustana Early Spring Opener on March 24.

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Track teams compete in Nationals and gains records