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Waldorf progresses in MSU Open & Multi

waldorf-warriors-outline_1By Matt Oliver

MANKATO, Minn. – With next month’s North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) Indoor Championships right around the corner, the Waldorf College women’s track and field team used this weekend’s Minnesota State University (MSU) Open & Multi as a tune-up.

“The plan for this meet was to put the women in only a few events, rest them a bit and have them feel refreshed coming into these next two weeks of training and meets before the conference meet,” Waldorf coach Kelsey Riggins said.

The Warriors continued to show progress in the two-day competition, which concluded on Saturday.

Adriana Garber turned in solid performances for the Warriors. The freshman from Unionville, Missouri tied her school-record mark in the high jump as she cleared 1.40 meters. Garber clocked a personal-record time of 11.41 seconds in the 60-meter high hurdles.

“Adriana has a ton of raw talent,” Riggins said. “She is always learning, always improving. She works really hard in practice and in the weight room. She improved by a tenth of a second in the 60 hurdles, which is a big accomplishment.”

Waldorf sophomore Erica Fee ran strong in the 800, crossing the finish line in 2 minutes, 43.32 seconds. The dual-sport athlete from Knoxville erased 13.1 seconds off her season-best time after running the event in 2:56.42 during the Chuck Petersen Open in December.

“She made the transition from volleyball to track and field right before winter break,” Riggins said. “She and Coach [Corey] Bins put together a plan to get her ready to be a middle-distance athlete for us.”

Fee has been sticking to her training regimen and the results are showing.

“That plan is paying off for Erica big time,” Riggins said. “At each of our meets since break, she has seen some big improvements. Erica is committed to Coach Bins’ plan and we are looking forward to seeing more improvements form Erica.”

Freshman Auburn Miller launched the shot put 10.15 meters for the Warriors. Sophomore Peyton Russell also surpassed the 10-meter mark, tossing the shot 10.06 meters.

“She threw over 10 meters in the shot put,” Riggins said. “That is a big barrier in the women’s shot. Peyton just learned the shot put this season when she came to Waldorf from Southwestern Community College.”

Russell’s primary event is the javelin, which is only competed in during the outdoor season. She’s quickly transitioned to new events and also went to work in the weight throw on Saturday.

“When Peyton came to campus, she embraced learning both the shot put and weight throw in order to contribute during the indoor season and she has been doing extremely well,” Riggins said.

Waldorf freshman Patricia Molina, seniors Megan Perkins, Abby Buehler and sophomore Danielle Holt competed in the 200.

“We had some solid performances in the 200,” Riggins said. “Each time we run, they are learning more about the race, how to run it indoors and making improvements.”

Molina, Perkins and sophomore Karissa Vetch ran the 60-meter dash for the Warriors. Holt battled in the 60 hurdles, Buehler represented the Warriors in the triple jump and freshman Kelli Wallace also threw the shot.

Track and field is in its second year at Waldorf and an increase in numbers has the Warriors moving in the right direction.

“Success in track and field is a combination of talent and depth at the team level,” Riggins said. “We are not the smallest team in our conference, but we will have a hard time competing with some of the larger programs at the NSAA conference meet.”

After fielding a team of seven athletes during the inaugural season, Waldorf has nearly doubled its roster total and the Warriors are looking to make their presence known in the NSAA meets in February.

“Our women’s program is small, but mighty,” Riggins said. “We have some women that can score some points and shake things up at the conference level. This week at practice, we will be doing some more technical work in the field events and breaking down what we need to work on in the running events.”

Waldorf returns to action in next weekend’s Buena Vista University Invitational at Storm Lake, opening the two-day meet on Friday at 2 p.m. It’s another chance for the Warriors to continue to build on the successes of the program.

“These women are laying the groundwork for the future of this program as we continue to grow,” Riggins said. “We need to embrace where we are as a team, play to our strengths and trust the work each one of them has done to prepare for competition.”