Track & Field

Track and Field Still Focused on Development Late in Season

Steve Woltmann | Loyola AthleticsLoyola junior sprinter Leron Norton is a key component of the 4x400-meter relay team.

The Loyola track and field team had 11 additions to the all-time leaderboards at the Musco Twilight meet hosted by the University of Iowa April 12.

This season, a bright spot for women’s track has been redshirt junior Lindsey Brewis, who finished first in the 5,000-meter run at the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Indoor Track and Field Championships. She’s a long distance runner specializing in the 5,000-m run, but she also competes in the 1,500-and 3,000-meter runs.

“She had historically been kind of on-and-off injured her first couple of years here and even had to redshirt last indoor season and cross country,” head coach Bob Thurnhoffer said. “We always felt like she was pretty darn talented through the years, but we never saw her get over the hump and stay healthy for a full season. This year, she has been healthy for really the first time in her life for a full season.”

Brewis recorded personal bests in the 1,500 m at the Stan Lyons Invitational March 17 and the 5,000 m at the Raleigh Relays hosted by North Carolina State University March 30-31. She said one of the reasons for her recent success this season has been an improved diet.

“I have, in the past year or so, put a lot more effort into eating the right things and making sure I’m getting the most robust kind of nutrients possible,” Brewis said. “Also sleeping as much as possible and getting adequate recovery, and that’s where I think the key to my success has stemmed from.”

On the men’s team, junior sprinter Leron Norton finished eighth in the 400-meter race at the Musco Twilight. He’s also part of the 4×400-meter relay team that has its eyes set on competing for the MVC title in that event.

“Our 4×400 relay is the biggest goal of mine right now. We have a group of really talented guys that run that event so our goal right now is definitely to make the regional meet,” Norton said. “We placed third in conference in the indoor MVC championships so going into the outdoor competitions we think we can challenge everyone in the conference. We definitely think we have a chance to win it and then advance to the regional meet.”

In his second year as head coach, Thurnhoffer said he’s shifted his goal from implementing a new coaching system to focusing on developing the young talent on the teams. This is especially true for the men’s team since first-years and sophomores comprise more than half of the roster.

“I definitely think we can continue to work on developing our young athletes, because we are a relatively young team right now,” Thurnhoffer said. “We’re going to be even younger next year with the class we have coming in, so I think just continuing to make sure those youngsters are developing and headed on the right path, having positive experiences, understanding how this is a long-term process, I think that’s going to be a big thing.”

Brewis sat out the two most recent meets — the Benedictine Invitational and the Musco Twilight — but she’s set to run at the upcoming meets in California. This will be her second time representing Loyola on a national stage during the outdoor season, with the first being when the team traveled to the Raleigh Relays in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“I’m very much looking forward to it. Mount Sac and all those meets out in California provide a great opportunity for high quality performances and they have really high caliber competition,” Brewis said. “It’s an honor just to be able to go. I think I’m speaking for every individual who’s traveling to California, we’re just so excited to be able to go and represent Loyola.”

Norton will also be making the trip to California and said he’s excited about the opportunity to showcase his abilities and represent Loyola.

“I think it’s really, really cool that I have the opportunity to wear ‘Loyola’ on my chest and go represent the school,” Norton said.

The Ramblers are scheduled to compete in the Bryan Clay Invitational April 19-20 in Azusa, California; the Mount Sac Relays April 19-21 in Torrance, California and the Beach Invitational April 20-21 in Long Beach, California.

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