Track & Field

Ramblers Take Home Several Awards at Track and Field Indoor Championships

Katherine Jamtgaard | UNI AthleticsSenior runner Riley Demeulenaere competes at the indoor track MVC championships Feb. 26-28.

Loyola’s track and field teams competed in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Indoor Championships Feb. 26-28. Both the men’s and women’s teams took home a slew of awards — including an MVC championship title over the course of several days at the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa. 

The men’s squad’s 26 points led Loyola to seventh place overall, with Northern Iowa (167.5 points) taking first. Loyola’s women’s team also earned seventh place with 46 points, while Illinois State University finished first with 138 points.

On the first day of competition, senior Mimi Reimers earned a second-place finish in the 5,000-meter run — earning All-MVC honors for the third year in a row — while the men’s distance medley relay took third overall. Seniors Demetri Panici, Riley DeMeulenaere, junior Eran Siboni and first-year Miguel Abaitua clocked in at a shared 10:07.50, roughly eight seconds behind first-place Bradley University.  

With a first-place finish in the mile run, junior Anneka Murrin took the first of two MVC titles across her two sports over the span of a week. She hit the finish line at 4:45.67 during the second day of the championship Feb 27. Murrin later finished first in the women’s 5K at the cross country championship just days later.

Like several others, Murrin runs for both cross country and track, meaning she has been training for both after the MVC delayed the cross country season due to COVID-19.

“My training was kind of a hybrid between the two, so it was an interesting season leading up to the championships,” Murrin said. “Then obviously having that quick turnover was a little overwhelming, but I think myself and the other girls on the team handled it fairly well.”

Murrin said she was pleased with her performances across both championships. 

“I was definitely happy with my times,” Murrin said. “I don’t think I can be mad especially just taking first in both events. I do have some goals just as everyone else, you meet one and you’re still hungry for the next one so that’ll definitely keep me motivated to train harder and try to get better, but I’m content with what I did, I’m happy to say that.” 

The women’s distance group also found success in the 3,000-meter run, with juniors Claire Hengesbaugh and Kathleen Simms placing second and third, respectively. 

On the men’s side, DeMeulenaere led Loyola and earned All-Valley honors with a third-place finish in the 3,000. Following DeMeulenaere was senior Emmanuel Champagne, who took ninth. 

“We brought a small group to this MVC meet but overall it turned out pretty well,” Loyola head track and field coach Bob Thurnhoffer said in a press release. “As with most championships, there were some ups and downs but lots of great highlights across the board. We saved a lot of our student-athletes for the MVC Cross Country Championships on Wednesday and we are gearing up for what should be a great outdoor season for our program.”

Senior Wes Heal came in fifth in the men’s 5,000 Feb. 26, the Wayzata, Minnesota native’s first league indoor meet. The first day also saw seniors Denee’ Lawrence and Michael Papper take on the 200-meter dash. Lawrence ran a 25.42 — 6/100 of a second from her personal best — making 11th. Papper ranked 15th with a time of 23.15. 

In the long jump, first-year jumper Melissa Parrella made her debut at 18-05.75 (5.63m) with a fifth-place finish — fourth in Loyola program history. Lovie Annafi, also a first-year, came close to her season best with 17-02.00 (5.23m). Sophomore Kevin Szczepaniec’s personal best of 22-02.50 earned him 12th at the championship and eighth in program history.

Day two brought All-MVC honors for Annafi who placed third — at 38-07.75 (11.78m) — in the triple jump. Her finish ranks sixth in program history, and senior Oyinlola Akinlosotu finished seventh. In the men’s triple jump, senior Gift Chinda and Szczepaniec came in at fourth and seventh, respectively.

With a seventh-place finish the day prior taking her to the Feb. 28 400-meter dash finals, senior Molly Reighard came in eighth place with a time of 58.65 in Sunday’s finals. The championship’s final day also saw the Ramblers’ women’s and men’s 4×400-meter relays place eighth and sixth, respectively.

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