By Megan Toninato – [email protected]

CSB track and field hosted its first meet of the season last Saturday, taking on both Macalester and St. Ben’s alumnae.

In this race, CSB track and field athletes made their presence known back on home turf. By the end of the day, the Blazers claimed victory eight times in eight different events.

In the first home meet of the season, junior Megan Sundstrom won the 400 meter dash and the triple jump.

“It’s always nice to compete at home because you have that sense of familiarity as well as an extra push to compete well to make your school proud,”  Sundstrom said.

PHOTO COURTESY OF CSB MEDIA RELATIONS. Senior Emma Weber is back competing in distance after missing last season.

Senior London Stelten also had a commendable day, winning the pole vault event and setting a personal best at 3.58 meters.

With that, Stelten found herself just shy of the CSB pole vaulting record. She is thrilled to be competing back at home.

“There were still some early season nerves about competing, so it was nice to be in a familiar setting to calm some of those nerves,” Stelton said. “You could feel the energy of the St. Ben’s track team when we showed up in our red St. Ben’s track and field sweatshirts, ready to show our parents, friends and community what we are capable of achieving this season.”

Niki Fokken also captured a win over the weekend. In the high jump she scored a personal best of 1.52 meters in her first attempts of the season.

Fokken is currently working double time, competing with the girls basketball team and the track and field team.

Last Saturday, she was able to go over to St. John’s in the morning, compete in the high jump and come back to St. Ben’s in time for the basketball team’s game against the University of St. Thomas.

Sarah Gigstad also set a personal best in the shotput. Her distance was recorded at 11.33 meters.

Senior Allison Kosobud and first-year Taylor Loth both put their endurance to the test and came out victorious. Kosobud won the 800 meter dash and Loth took first in the mile run.

With big wins just a few weeks into the season, Head Coach Robin Balder-Lanoue is hopeful for where this season may go.

“We are very excited to be back and competing,” Balder-Lanoue said. “Many of our athletes worked hard in the off-season so it will be very fun to see what they will accomplish this season.”

On the CSB track and field roster there are 46 athletes. Even with different events and personalities, Coach Balder-Lanoue is still commited to building team chemistry.

“Track and field is a very crazy sport where you have different types of athletes that all have to train differently,” Balder-Lanoue said. “It may look like a very individual sport but I believe that team unity is everything.”

Sundstrom agrees.

“The cool thing about track and field is that we get to compete individually while simultaneously working as a team,” Sundstrom said. “We have ‘Blazer buddies’ which help us to get to know all aspects of the team. Most people are paired as upperclassmen with freshman or differing events (i.e. a thrower paired with a distance runner). We also make an effort to cheer for each other at all events.”

The Blazers will be back in action this weekend as the multi-event athletes head to the Bison Invite in Fargo, North Dakota. The rest of the team will be at the Hamster Invite in St. Paul.