When the Augustana men’s track and field team competes, they have one goal: make everything a celebration of life. This phrase can be found on the back of the track team’s t-shirts courtesy of their head coach, Paul Olsen.
“If we are true to Augustana track and field as a celebration of life, the times, distances, and heights will take care of themselves,” said Olsen.
The Vikings are now celebrating life outdoors after a successful indoor season where they finished second in the Indoor CCIW Conference Championships and had several national qualifiers.
They will start the outdoor part of their journey this upcoming weekend at home for the Viking Opener, which Olsen said is a great way to begin the season.
“We do it right. We have wonderful officials, a nine lane track and multiple venues for both women and men to throw at the same time,” Olsen said. “All of this results in meets taking half the time they do at other schools.”
The team will reload for the spring season with six All-Americans. Four of the All-Americans are from one relay team: the 4×400 meter relay. The team consisted of senior Isaac Smith and juniors Josh Yamamoto, Alex LeMendola and Kyle Hucker. The four are joined by senior distance runner Tanner Osing and throwers senior Markus Simmons and junior Ethan Ehlers.
However, according to Olsen, the game is changed dramatically when it’s taken outside. Events such as the 3,000 meter steeplechase, the 10,000 meter run and the javelin throw are added during the spring.
Freshman Nick Harvey said that he believes the move from indoor to outdoor track will give an advantage to the Vikings in the upcoming weeks.
“When you come outside, ideally your first run is always a little faster because with the longer track you run less curves. This outdoor season we want to win conference,” said Harvey.