Beloit College track coach Brian Bliese can’t help but wonder what a pain-free Felicia Carlson would accomplish.
The Beloit College sprinter has been plagued by turf toe in both of her big toes, yet when the Buccaneers host this weekend’s Midwest Conference Meet she will be one of the leading contenders in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes.
“A sprinter with turf toe is a rough mix,” he said. “Her biggest problem is the starts when you put a lot of pressure on those big toes. It can be an issue, but she seems to be dealing with it pretty well.”
Carlson, who transferred to Beloit from St. Cloud State last fall, has followed a strong indoor season with an even better spring. The former Beloit Memorial High School standout shattered the school records in both the 100 and 200 earlier in the season and last week broke them again in the Carroll University Invitational. She ran 12.49 in the trials of the 100 and 25.81 in the 200 finals, winning both events.
“She has really started rounding out to the level she expects,” Bliese said. “It’s coming at the right time. Her times were a little slower at the start of the outdoor season and that was mainly due to the cold and snow and what we couldn’t do training-wise.”
Carlson has her sights set on two more records and a run at the titles in both sprints. She will also compete in the long jump.
“She has a little room to improve,” Bliese said. “I’m hoping for a 12.1 and a 25.1. Those are goals she wants for sure.”
Bliese said the competition she’ll face will be outstanding. She ranks third in the MWC in the 100 behind Illinois College’s Melissa Norville (12.32) and Monmouth’s Lacey Hainline (12.39). She is fourth in the 200 behind Norville (24.78) and Chimidiofuma Eze-Echesi of IC (25.70) and Hainline (25.74).
“Felicia will be tested by some very good people,” the coach said. “The quality of the competition in our league is phenomenal. At our conference indoor championships you had 15 Division III All-Americans and five national champions. Our elite athletes are comparable to the CCIW or WIAC. The only difference is that they have more of them.”
Carlson will face preliminary races in the 100, 200 and the 4x100 relay as well as the finals in the long jump on Friday.
“For sprinters, it’s a big day,” Bliese said. “You have to perform well.”
• In addition to Carlson, Bliese said Beloit’s other hopes for high finishes are probably riding with pole vaulter Mat Floyd and discus throwers Darth Winkler and Erika Moen.
“Floyd is the top-seeded vaulter and both Winkler and Moen are among the top seeds in the discus,” the coach said. “They likely are our top finishers, but I hope there is more. They should have all their academic issues out of their heads and can just focus on the home meet and the conference championships.”
Floyd’s 14-foot, 8-inch effort in the Carroll Invitational vaulted him into the top seed in the pole vault. Next best is the 14-05.62 of Illinois College’s Chandler Polyte.
Winkler is seeded second in the discus (141-07), behind only Kenny Oxendorf of St. Norbert (143-06.44). Moen is ranked fifth in the discus (125-03.54).
Bliese said the times should be excellent on the new Karris Track and Field facility.
“Gauging what I have heard from sprinters, it’s a fast track,” Bliese said.
• Can we say dynasty? Monmouth has won every men’s MWC title since 2001. Carroll won the 2000 and 1999 titles and prior to that the Fighting Scots had won four straight. That’s 16 titles in 18 years for Monmouth’s men.
Monmouth’s women have an eight-year streak of titles and have won 12 of the past 13 years.
Beloit’s men won their last title in 1951. The women’s championships began in 1979. The women Bucs have yet to win one.
For the record, this is the 91st men’s and 35th women’s MWC Outdoor Championships. Only four of the conference members of today were there for the inaugural track and field event in 1921 — Beloit, Cornell, Knox and Lawrence.