Track and field return to competition

Maurice Hudson, Sports Editor

The Winona State University women’s track & field program opened up a strained season at the Bemidji State Craig Hougen Triangular on Saturday, Jan. 23.

The year prior, the Warriors racked up a fourth-place finish at the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Indoor Championships, including eight top-five finishes in the meet.

Most of the team is returning including the core point scorers in jumping and sprinting events.

In the 2020-21 NSIC Preseason Women’s Indoor Track & Field Coaches’ poll, the Warriors were picked to finish fourth overall by the NSIC coaches, while St. Cloud State was selected sixth and Bemidji State was tabbed 10th.

The Warriors joined fellow NSIC schools St. Cloud State University and Bemidji State as they competed at the Gillett Wellness Center this past Saturday.

The meet was closed to the public due to COVID-19 protocols, regulations and guidelines.

The Warriors saw the first-place position a handful of times during the season-opening meet.

Third-year jumper and NSIC athlete to watch, Madison Rizner, took home first place in both the triple jump and high jump, hitting a 36-01.25 mark in the triple and high jump mark of 5-04.25.

Third-year sprinter Michaela Pryor won the 60-meter dash with a 7.83 time in the sprints and secured the 200-meter race with a clocked time of 25.83.

The Warriors secured the top three spots in the one-mile run, with first-year Lindsay Cunningham, second-year Kaylee Beyer and first-year McKenna Taylor.

All three spots were filled with sub 5:20 times, more than 20 seconds faster than the next competitor.

With fourth-year Kalley Harris, third-year Brooklyn Schyvinck and third-year Kendall Zeman coming in at 57.84, 58.16 and 101.30, individually, the Warriors have turned in the top three times in the 400-meter run.

In the 60-meter hurdle, third-year Xana Leum came second with a time of 9.33 while third-year Alli Hendrickson was the top performer of the 3000-meter race and the only runner to finish in under 11 minutes with a time of 10:51.49.

The Winona State 4X400 relay team of Harris, Zeman, third-year Shereen Vallabouy and Schyvinck won the event with a time of 4:00.42, while the second team of third-year Maddy Pietz, second-year Emma Breitsprecher, Beyer and Taylor turned in a time of 4:19.97 to finish fourth.

In terms of team finishes, St. Cloud State earned 102 points, Winona State earned 96.50 and host Bemidji State had 75.50.

The Warriors women’s track and field team will be in action again on Saturday, Jan. 30 at Minnesota State-Mankato.