With the indoor season nearing its conclusion and the outdoor season already underway, it is a busy time of year for the Stanford track and field programs. While many other Stanford teams are enjoying downtime during Dead Week and Finals, both the men’s and women’s squads are revving up for the NCAA indoor championships and the beginning of the “real” (outdoor) season. I’ll give a quick preview of this weekend’s indoor championship meet before looking ahead to the outdoor schedule.
The Cardinal are heading to Fayetteville, Arkansas to the Randal Tyson Track Center on the University of Arkansas campus for the second time this season. The first was a mid-season invitational; now, the stakes are significantly higher. A total of 11 athletes will be making the trip to the Midwest: both men’s and women’s distance medley relay teams, senior Darian Brooks (triple jump), fifth-year senior Jess Tonn, freshman Elise Cranny (women’s 3000 meters) and fifth-year senior Erik Olson (men’s 3000 meters).
The members of the men’s distance medley team are defending national champions, but the team returns only one of its runners from last year’s squad. That would be senior Luke Lefebure, who, despite a nagging injury over the course of the winter, has been one of the team’s most consistent performers. Luke is the epitome of a student-athlete: A four-time All-American on the track, he’s also maintained a high level of success in the classroom (reflected by his Elite 89 Award at the 2013 Indoor Track and Field Championships). He’s also a model teammate — he’s relatively quiet, but when he talks, you listen. He’ll run the 800-leg on the DMR.
Sophomore Tom Coyle, who has made great strides over the past few months, will run the lead-off 1200-meter leg. Junior Jack Shumway has the 400-meter leg, and he’ll hand off to Lefebure, who will then pass the stick to sophomore Sean McGorty, whose 1600-meter leg is just short of a full mile. Though short on championship-level experience, we know our men’s DMR can compete with anyone in the country.
The women’s DMR are the defending national runner-ups, but like their male counterparts, return only one runner from their 2014 team. Junior Claudia Saunders will, as she did last year, run the 800-meter leg. Leading off will be Jess Tonn, who chose to scratch out the individual mile and 5K in order to be fresh and rested for the DMR on Friday night. True freshman Olivia Baker is slated to run the 400-meter segment, and classmate Elise Cranny will run the anchor leg. This team is as talented and hardworking as any team in the nation, and should be a tough out against what figures to be a formidable field.
In the individual events, Tonn and Cranny will double-back in the women’s 3k on Saturday night; both should challenge for the victory.
Erik Olson, who qualified in both the 3K and 5K but chose only to contest the former, will also run on Saturday night. After valiantly attempting the 3K/5K double last year (at altitude, no less), I’m sure Erik will appreciate only having one event to focus in in his final indoor meet in a Stanford uniform.
Finally, Darian Brooks—our lone non-distance event athlete heading to Fayetteville—will take flight in the triple jump. Darian, the 2014 Pac-12, 2015 MPSF triple jump champion and Stanford indoor record holder in the event, will look to add to his burgeoning trophy case at the Randal Tyson Center.
As the indoor season winds down, Stanford’s outdoor schedule is already underway. A contingent of Cardinal athletes competed at the Cal Outdoor Opener on Saturday in Berkeley, with several athletes turning in noteworthy results.
Chief among them was freshman thrower Lena Geiger, who set the Stanford freshman record in the hammer throw. Sophomore Valarie Allman won the women’s discus, and senior Rebecca Hammar took the win in the shot put. Sophomore Ryan Silva — the only non-field event athlete to travel to Cal—ran a personal-best 3:51.45 in the men’s 1500-meter.
Contact Cameron Miller at cmiller6 ‘at’ stanford.edu.