The 2017 Olivet College track and field season has gotten under way, and the men and women’s team have a new but familiar face as head coach.
Karen Lutzke was promoted to head coach of the track and field teams before the 2016 fall semester. She has served as the cross-country coach at OC for the past several years. Olivet Athletic Director Ryan Shockey said he is “excited for the future of the programs.”
In her previous years as the cross-country coach, Lutzke has produced All American honors for athletics and academics. Shockey also looks forward to seeing Lutzke “develop them [track and field team] into winners in the class room and on the track. “Growing as a team has been a theme around the athletic programs at Olivet College, and Lutzke sets it as a goal as well. She said she wants to “have continued growth like we have had with the women’s cross country program the last few years.”
Jan. 14 was the start of the season, and Olivet traveled to University Center, Michigan at the Saginaw Valley State Fieldhouse. The Comets ran indoors for the SVSU Classic, and there were standouts on the Olivet team. Senior Connor Bauserman and junior Bruce Baker finished the men’s mile race in first and second, respectively. Freshman Noah Baily set an Olivet school record long jump distance at 22’2-1/4”. Isabelle Leon (junior) placed fifth in the women’s mile run, and sophomore Kimberly Barber led Olivet women in the field events with a fourth-place finish in the long jump.
The second event of the season for the Comets came down south at the Indiana Wesleyan Wildcat Invitational on Jan. 21. Olivet runners placed well, as Isabelle Leon finished second in the women’s mile and senior Blake Wilson coming in at third for the men’s. In the field events, junior Mitchell Smith performed well at third place with a 42’7-1/2” throw in the men’s shot put.
The month of February will kick off for the Olivet track and field on Feb. 3 and 4, where the Comets will head down to Hillsdale “Wide-Track” Classic. A week later, Olivet will participate at the Dick Small Invite hosted by Defiance College in Ohio. Another track meet follows that on Feb. 18, which will be the Hillsdale Tune-up. Finishing out February, Olivet gear up and compete in the MIAA Championships hosted by Calvin College on Feb. 25.
The Comets start off March with the “Last Chance Meet” at Wisconsin Stevens Point on Saturday, March 4. On the next weekend of March 10 and 11, Olivet will be traveling to the NCAA Division III National Championships held in North Central, Illinois. Ending the month will be the Emory (Georgia) Invitational on March 17 and 18 during Spring Break, and the Wash U-St. Louis Missouri Invitational on March 31 through April 1.
Division II invites fill up the schedule in April, with the first two being at Ferris State on April 8 and Sienna Heights on April 13. Following that will be the Grand Valley Al Owens Classic held on April 21 and 22. Olivet will end the month by competing in the Hillsdale “Gina” Relays on April 27 through the 29.
The season ends with May being the most important month for the Olivet track and field team. The MIAA Field Day will be on May 4 and 5 up at Calvin College. A pair of Last Chance meets will be held at North Central (Illinois) on the weekends of the May 11-12 and May 18-19. The weekend after those meets will be the final Division III National Championships in Geneva, Ohio.