Sophomore Freda Kallenberg’s resume on the women’s track and field team includes a sixth-place PacWest finish in the 400-meter hurdles, a second-place PacWest finish in the high jump, a fourth-place PacWest finish in the heptathlon, and a first-place PacWest finish in the javelin, all in her freshman year. She also finished with top-12 PacWest performances in the 200-meter race, the 100-meter hurdles, and the long jump.
And she’s just one of 40 women on a team that is following a fourth-place finish at the PacWest Championships and hoping to bring Head Coach Jerry Arvin his eleventh Coach of the Year Award.
“I want to try my hardest and I hope it’s good enough,” said Kallenberg. “But I don’t have any specific goals.”
“We have a strong team this year,” said junior sprinter Lauren Wuertz. “Starr Rodenhurst is a really good thrower. Celine Lum is good at pole vault. We have some really good distance runners. Hannah Benoit Bucher will be there, and the Bartello twins, Brianna and Marissa. Cassidy Towner is new, she’s a transfer. She’ll be good, she looks strong.”
While the potential is there, the first meet has not yet happened and the team is already facing its first form of adversity: the weather.
“I just think it’s been hard with the rain, said Wuertz. “Like today, practice is canceled again. So we have to make do with the gym. But also with the schedule of the basketball teams, we have to get our workouts in before their games. It’s kind of more annoying for us, we’re not really used to it… Everything we do is usually outside. As far as getting in our sprinting workouts, or the girls who throw or do hurdles, I guess it’s hard to do all that in the gym. It’s a little bit of a struggle, but we make do.”
“Making do” through tough situations is what a quality team must eventually learn to do. But will they learn enough to top last season’s fourth-place finish at the PacWest Championships?
“It’ll depend once we get towards conference, we’ll see how people are placing,” said Wuertz. “Once we get to conference, Coach will figure out where he needs to strategically place people…This year, we’re trying to get something better than fourth. We’ve been doing better than past seasons…Just praying for a good season, that everyone will be healthy and be able to push themselves to the limit.”
The team’s first meet of the season will be the Rossi Relays in Claremont on Feb. 23. There will also be two meets hosted at PLNU in March: The Ross & Sharon Irwin Collegiate Scoring Meet on March 16, and the PLNU Collegiate Invitational on March 23.