College track and field: Kohlwey staying on target heading into NCAA meet
The recently refurbished Ward Wells Field House was abuzz with activity Tuesday afternoon on the Minnesota Duluth campus. There were runners doing laps, jumpers practicing the pole vault and throwers working on their form in the discus and hammer...
The recently refurbished Ward Wells Field House was abuzz with activity Tuesday afternoon on the Minnesota Duluth campus.
There were runners doing laps, jumpers practicing the pole vault and throwers working on their form in the discus and hammer throw. If you didn't look twice, you might get run over.
"This isn't even busy," first-year UMD women's track coach Laura Harmon said.
UMD only qualified two for this weekend's NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Robert W. Plaster Center in Pittsburg, Kan. - senior Danielle Kohlwey and freshman Haleigh Reindl - making all the activity seem a bit surprising, but athletes are already prepping for the outdoor season.
"As a track coach, with cross country followed by indoor and outdoor, you appreciate your summers," Harmon said.
And nobody is appreciating her last go-round more than Kohlwey, who is making her third straight national indoor appearance after finishing fourth in the 60-meter hurdles last year at the same venue. Prelims are Friday and finals Saturday.
"I just feel more prepared," said Kohlwey, a marketing and graphic design major from Onalaska, Wis. "I know what the warm-up areas are like, I know some of the competition and I know what the track feels like. It's a fast track. It's kind of cool being there, in this arena. I've been there before, so that's really neat. It's exciting. It's my last year, so I want to do my best."
Kohlwey is an interesting contrast from her teammate, Reindl. Where Kohlwey comes across as all business, Reindl is happy-go-lucky, just happy to be there, the pride of Waterford, Wis. (population 5,368).
Reindl is an up-and-comer. She will compete in the 800, where her qualifying time of 2 minutes, 11.60 seconds is only 17th, but she's the only freshman in the field.
"It's incredible," she said upon hearing of that distinction.
If the former Wisconsin state champion shaves even a second or two off each year, look out.
"Making nationals was a goal. I just didn't know if it would be indoor or outdoor," Reindl said. "I'm still learning. My goal now is to make it into finals. Let's keep the momentum going."
Kohlwey also will compete in the 200, where she was just one spot shy of qualifying for the finals last year. Her 60 hurdles qualifying time of 8.30 seconds was just .01 off her school record set in 2018 and is second-fastest in the nation this season. The top time belongs to San Francisco State junior Monisha Lewis (8.21), who Kohlwey competed against at outdoor nationals last season, where Lewis finished a split-second ahead of her.
After indoor nationals, Kohlwey will continue training, just like her teammates, for the outdoor season. She will graduate in May with plans to eventually move to Oregon and pursue professional running.
"My goal in the hurdles is to be a national champion," Kohlwey said. "(Lewis) is a powerhouse. She can get it done, but anything can happen. I'm only a stride behind her, and when you look at it that way, it's not that much. Fortunately, I don't really get nervous for the hurdles anymore. I just trust in my abilities."