Photo by Ted Brakob
Photo by Ted Brakob
The St. Thomas women’s track and field team had a remarkable season, both regionally and
nationally. From pole vaulting, to long jump, to distance
and sprint events, the athletes performed above and
beyond. Under Joe Sweeney, track coach for the St.
Thomas team for 36 years, the team found leadership
and guidance throughout the season.
Paving the way for the team’s success was All-American
runner and national champion Emily Gapinski. On March
11, at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships
in Grinnell, Iowa, Gapinski received her first individual
national title following a 4: 52. 28 first place finish in the
mile. Her speed as the anchor in the distance medley also
led St. Thomas to a national first place finish of 10: 47.04.
Two weeks later, at the Mt. Sac Relays in Norwalk, Calif.,
Gapinski ran her personal best with a 4: 23. 25 seventh
place finish in the 1500 open.
Athletes from all events helped propel the team
forward at the MIAC Indoor Championships. Hannah
Helstad ran a first-place finish in the 600-meter dash
and the 800-meter relay team took the title with a time
of 1: 45. 83. The team swept the track, taking home the
The outdoor season was equally successful. For the
fifth year in a row, the women’s and men’s teams won
the MIAC outdoor championships. The women’s team
had a series of individual wins. Gapinski won the 800
with a stadium-record time as well as the 1500. Senior
Bailey Cook won the high jump, Allison Mellin won the
hammer, Summer Ellefson won the 400-hurdles, and the
Tommies won the 4x800 relay.
Gapinski, Helstad and Aimee Junget qualified for
the NCAA Outdoor Championships where Gapinski
came in third in the 1500. Emma Paulson and Gapinski
were among 10 athletes in their category named to the
CoSIDA Academic All-District VI Division III teams for
Four-year runner and team captain Hayley Schuchard
reflected on the season saying, “Every year our team
strives to win the conference championship. Not only
did we have athletes conquer the conference, but we
had girls compete and win in the national indoor meet.
Everyone on the team has continued to improve their
times and marks throughout the season.”
By Luke Hubers