Lakehead University

Athletics Department

Track Team Dominant at UWS Blizzard Open

January 24th, 2012

Author: Hugh Mullally

(Courtesy Alastair Brown)

This weekend, the Lakehead Track and Field team headed south to compete in their first road competition of the year. The Blizzard Open, hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Superior, annually plays host to NCAA DII and DIII teams from Wisconsin and Minnesota.  Despite being a little rusty, the Lakehead men and women performed admirably, taking home 17 medals and setting three meet records.

The first medal of the day came in the womenís mile.  In her second straight win of the year, senior Tess Naroski blasted out of the gates to take a commanding victory. With the help of teammate Danielle Thiel, Naroski set a torrid pace that no one else could match, eventually crossing the finish line in a swift 5:13.01. Thiel faded slightly in the later stages of the race but still hung on to finish second in 5:22.31.  Chelea Johnson of St. Scholastica College narrowly beat out Lakeheadís Callie Roelfsema for third.

Less than five minutes later, the Lakehead men copied the women by taking spots one, two, and four in the menís mile.  Senior Alastair Brown and third-year Travis Roske controlled the race off the gun, splitting through halfway in a reasonable 2:12.  Brown then went right to the front and never looked back, earning his third straight Blizzard Open mile title with a new meet record of 4:16.92.  Roske held on to finish second in 4:29.98.  Jared Johnson of the University of Minnesota-Duluth finished third, narrowly beating out Lakeheadís Chris Brown, who finished fourth in 4:33.25.  

The women and the men who ran the mile would both double back a little more than half an hour later in the 1000m.  Despite the short turnaround time, Lakehead athletes did not disappoint.  Tess Naroski pulled out another dominating win, crushing the field with a new meet record of 3:02.77. In the menís race, Brown and Roske would again work together to take spots one and two.  Brown narrowly missed out on his own meet record set in 2009 with a 2:34.01 clocking, while Roske cruised to an easy 2:37.88 silver medal.  

Lakehead distance runners earned one more medal in the final individual event of the day.  Senior Hilary Quirion, coming off injury and illness, ran a brave race to take third in the 3000m with a seasonal best time of 10:43.40.  University of Minnesota-Duluthís NCAA DII All-American Morgan Place took the win in 10:31.47 over her teammate Amanda Boman.  

While the distance runners performed well, Lakeheadís sprinters and jumpers also contributed to the medal count.  On the womenís side, Heather Maxfield bettered her own meet record in the 600m run, taking the win in a time of 1:39.42.  Senior Vanessa Ivec snagged another medal for the Thunderwolves by finishing third in 1:42.34.  On the menís side, rookie Joe McDonough would dominate off a slow pace to win the 600m in 1:28.04 over Michael Amofah of St. Cloud State.  

In the shorter sprints, rookie Jess Baraskewich had a big meet to take second in both the 60m and the 200m.  Jess had the fastest time (8.10) after the prelims in the 60m, but was narrowly run down in the finals by Becky Schmidt of St. Cloud State.  She would again run well in the 200m, taking second in 27.32 behind Kirsten Bjork of Minnesota-Duluth.

The final medals of the day came from the jumpers and the 4x400m relays.  Rookies Gabriello Ianninuberto and Josh Strain went one-two in the triple jump with leaps of 12.62m and 12.51m, respectively.  In the 4x400m relays, the team of Heather Maxfield, Vanessa Ivec, Jess Baraskewich, and Danielle Thiel would take third in 4:15.20 behind Minnesota-Duluth and Bemidji State, while the team of Joseph McDonough, Travis Roske, Alastair Brown, and Geoff Chambers-Bedard would take the win over Minnesota-Duluth with a 3:31.70 clocking.  

Coach Kip Sigsworth had mixed feelings about the day.  ďWe had some excellent performances today and some not so good results.  I was very happy with how some of our rookie athletes performed in their first away meet Ė especially Jess in the short sprints.  Alastair and Tess looked great in breaking meet records.  The next two weeks will be big tests for us as we take on the best of Eastern Canada at McGill this weekend and the best of Western Canada in Winnipeg the following weekend.Ē   

Lakehead will send a squad of ten athletes this weekend to Montreal to take part in the annual McGill Team Challenge.  

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Last Edited: January 24th, 2012

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