• Zach Sturgill

'New' coach Lutzke looking to improve track and field teams

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.