Written by Student Assistant Garrett Hittner
TACOMA, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran University men's and women's track & field program heads to Oregon for the weekend to compete at the Rich Allen Classic hosted by George Fox University.
Coming off spring break, the team looks to get back into the swing of things after a week of individual practice. Many athletes trained at home over the break and utilized the time off to recover and recuperate for the final push towards the Northwest Conference meet.
Over the past weekend first-year Avalyne Peters won the women's high jump for the Lutes in her first collegiate meet. She had not been able to compete previously due to an early season injury putting her on the sideline for the start of the season. Peters cleared five feet, 0 1/2 inch, at last weekend's Shotwell Invitational at the University of Puget Sound, scoring 10 points for the women's team and was a great starting point for the promising jumper. With her first year in college, the transition from high school to college can be a difficult move for a student athlete.
"The transition to college was very smooth and it wasn't as difficult as I originally anticipated," said Peters. "Being able to meet some new teammates before the season started helped a lot."
She has big aspirations for the season and for her future as a Lute.
"I want to be one of the top competitors in the NWC. I want to show what I can do even if I only have half a season. Setting a new personal record in the high jump would be awesome. It would be amazing to make it to nationals, but I still have a few more years to get there."
When not on the high jump apron, Peters enjoys hiking, biking, and playing with her dog.
Another top performer for the Lutes over the weekend was Michael Hatlen in the javelin. In previous seasons he has been spreading his talents across events such as the javelin, high jump, and the 4x400-meter relay. This season he has been able to focus on the javelin which has helped him become a better athlete and has helped keep him healthy.
"With only doing javelin there has been much less stress on my body. I have had issues with my back in the past from high jump but this season I have been able to avoid that," said Hatlen.
Hatlen is a senior and a leader on the team. With this being his final competitive season, he wants to make it a memorable one.
"I want to make the most of every opportunity to compete. There are only two meets before the conference meet and I will do whatever I can to help the team."
"I want to be top three in conference and make it on the podium. It's important to me to be competitive at the conference meet."
When not practicing, Hatlen enjoys watching and playing sports, hanging with friends, winning intramural championships in dodgeball and can be seen regularly at other sporting events on campus, cheering on his fellow Lutes.
This week the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) released its first rankings of the outdoor season. The PLU men rank eighth in the West Region while in the event group rankings the women rank second nationally in the javelin, seventh in the discus, while the men are eighth nationally in the 200-meter dash. New this season, the event rankings combine the performances of the top four competitors on each team.