The University of Dallas men’s and women’s track and field began their seasons this past weekend with what head coach Matt Barber described as, “a really strange event that you only see once a year.”
The Texas Lutheran University (TLU) Bulldog Relays is an annual event composed entirely of relays, which Barber said is hard to quantify from an outside point of view because the number results are team marks.
“What we did is we mixed together a number of different types of athletes,” Barber explained. “It’s an odd meet from the outside for sure, but as an athlete, as a coach, it’s fun when you’re there; it’s [just] hard to look at online.”
Notable results in the various relays included, on the women’s side, a new school record in the 800 meter medley relay. Seniors Katie McIntyre and Cora Keil, along with junior Julia Ringel and freshman Maggie Larson, beat last year’s record in the same event with a time of 2:09.34. On the men’s side, Jack Grubner, seniors Tom Pierick, junior Dominic del Curto and sophomore transfer Kevin McGuirk, posted a 3:57.40 record on the 1600 meter sprint medley.
“Some individuals ran really good splits in the medleys,” Barber said. “A few people that were awesome this weekend that I want to point out are Kevin McGuirk and Cora Keil. [Cora] is a returner. Last year was her first year and this year she’s starting out way ahead of where she was last year, she is really on top of it.”
Barber also mentioned Grubner, who is a graduate student with an extra year of track eligibility who decided to return for the 2017 season.
“Jack was senior last year: he graduated, but he didn’t use all four years of his track eligibility,” Barber said. “So this year, he’s in grad school, he’s taking nine credit hours on top of a full-time job and he’s fitting track in somehow.”
In addition to the regular relays, TLU also hosted a co-ed 4×100 meter relay exclusively for field competitors. Senior Paulo Salazar, juniors Marcos Carmona and Diana Hassink, and sophomore Will McEvoy made up the UD quartet in this event unique to the TLU meet.
“The throwers’ relay was awesome,” Barber said. “There were two teams, so eight total people, seven dudes and one Diana, and she ran better than a number of the dudes, so that was good.”
In addition to her performance in the relay, Hassink made her debut in the discus, where Barber said she had a good first showing. On the men’s side, Carmona set a new personal record in the discus. In the javelin throw, junior Grace Conti also set a new personal record with a 20.38 throw.
With their first meet behind them, Barber has high hopes for his team to improve throughout the season.
“There are a couple [places] where I could see definite room for improvement,” Barber said. “With some of our Romers who just got back it’s a lot more continuing base training because they didn’t get a ton of that in Rome. And there are some newcomers where this was their first meet, where they did well but they’re still not super comfortable with it yet.”
The Crusaders will be back on the track next Saturday, Feb. 25 at the Trinity Open, looking as always to improve on last year’s performance.
“Next week we’ll get a better idea of where we’re at because there’s more open events and more one-on-one competitions,” Barber said.