IWC indoor track aims to break records
The Iowa Wesleyan College track and field team is ready for another record-setting season.
Head Coach Tad Hulst has high goals for this year’s team and believes they have the work ethic and ability to meet the expectations.
“I’m extremely excited about this team,” Hulst said. “I really believe we have the ability to be one of the best all-around track and field teams the school has had in a while.
“We will be counting on a lot of people to step in and contribute in different events, and they seem ready and eager to do so.”
Last season, in Hulst’s first year at IWC, the Tigers broke two school records and posted 11 other top-five marks in school history between the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons.
Jacob Ayers set the mile record in the indoor track season with a time of 4:43.89, and Breanna Derynck did the same for the women’s indoor mile with a time of 6:23.75.
Three men’s events moved into the runner-up spot on the all-time leaderboard for indoor track. Duane Lee ran a time of 52:29 in the mile and Ayers set a mark of 9:54.34 in the indoor 3K. The 4x400 team of Lee, Ayers, Raul Becceril and Michael Klostermann was second all-time with a time of 3:34.92.
On the women’s side, C.J. Strother had the second-farthest weight throw in school history with a distance of 35-7.
Troy Hallberg is No. 5 on the all-time list for the men’s indoor weight throw with a toss of 36-8 1/4. The indoor 4x200 team of Lee, Becceril, Elijah Albert and Klostermann ran the fifth-fastest time in school history last season, finishing in 1:35.21.
Hulst believes this year’s team will be even more impressive, as many of the record setters will return for another season — Ayers, Klostermann, Becceril and Hallberg on the men’s side, and Strother on the women’s side.
“Our returners will be a huge key in our success,” Hulst said. “College track and field and the training involved is a lot different than high school, so our returners will need to help the newcomers adjust. But I ... fully expect several of our newcomers to contribute right away as well.”
On the men’s team, the Tigers look to sprinter Anthony Harris Jr., a transfer student from St. Louis, Mo., as well as freshmen Damien Abel from Princeville, Ill., and Jeremiah Foley from St. Louis, Mo., to help fill in the gaps left by Lee, who is playing basketball this year, and Albert, who graduated.
They also welcome freshman thrower Bradley Sabel from New Boston, Ill.
On the women’s side, Derynck — who ran cross-country this year — won’t be competing because she graduates in December. But the Tigers add distance runner Katie Bang, a freshman from Huntley, Ill.
They also add thrower Madalyn Powers, a freshman who graduated from Highland. Freshman Lauren Pawling of Ft. Madison, who played soccer for IWC this fall, also looks to aid the track team.
“I really believe we have the ability to break eight to 10 school records in the indoor season alone this year,” Hulst said. “That’s our focus – break as many records as possible.”
The Tigers have two other goals for the season: they’re aiming for a conference title and a spot at the Drake Relays.
Hulst hopes that facing tough competition at some big meets — meets at Iowa State University, the University of Iowa, and Western Illinois University — will help the Tigers meet their goals.
“I’m really excited about our schedule,” Hulst said. “I believe the best way to find out just how good we can be individually and as a team is to mix it up and have a combination of some big meets, where we see the best athletes around, and compete at some smaller meets, where we’re looking to win.”
Along with their travels to NCAA DI schools, the Tigers will also attend meets at Knox College, Cornell College and St. Ambrose University.
And one other thing is of utmost importance: avoiding injury.
“We’ll have to stay healthy to meet those goals,” Hulst said. “This year’s team will be nearly double the size of last year’s, but we can’t afford injuries. The key will be to have a controlled passion in our training, staying focused and working hard, but priming ourselves for that latter part of the season.”
The Tigers open their season Jan. 18 at the Knox College Indoor Invite.