by Ryan Wienk
The University of Northwestern – Saint Paul men’s and women’s track and field teams kicked off the indoor track season with a meet Jan. 25 in River Falls, Wisconsin. The beginning of February brought two more opportunities for the teams with meets at University of Wisconsin – Stout and Bethel University.
“We are a team of 10 men competing against a team of 30 men; the odds are stacked pretty high against us. It doesn’t mean that we still don’t go out and compete hard and try to win our events and rack up points,” said head coach Steve Thiessen about the track and field team’s goals for competing in the conference.
The track and field teams have been preparing for the indoor season for almost a month now. However, Northwestern does not have a proper training facility for the track and field teams, which is why they have been traveling to different locations to practice two mornings every week.
This year the track team has a limited number of returning athletes. A majority of the athletes participating in track are from the freshman class. Coach Thiessen explained it saying, “We don’t have a strong core in terms of numbers, but what we do have are good people who are committed to running, training, helping us with leadership and giving us a good foundation to build on. It’s a great class of people that showed up. Some have great track experience, and some have minimal experience.”
All of the UNW athletic programs are focused on more than just athletics. They are fundamentally backed by the idea that even while participating in athletics, students should remain fully focused on Christ. The track and field teams take this mission to heart. 1 Timothy 4:7-8 serves as one of the team’s core verses to build the season around. Coach Thiessen explains, “I’m asking my athletes to think of the big picture by looking at all aspects of their life rather than just the sport itself. One area that we are focused on is the spiritual dimension of man what I call the total athlete; how we are growing in Christ whether it’s by ministry or personal devotions. Those kinds of things are important to us.”
The athletes are looking to reach their peak performance by the end of February. Until then, the teams will continue to train hard, have fun and glorify Christ. The next meet will be Feb. 15 at the University of Wisconsin – Superior.