Loy Norrix hosts its 36th annual Don Lukens track meet

“The competition-level is my favorite part. It is highly competitive, and you have to be a very strong track and field athlete to win your event,” said Loy Norrix athletic director Andrew Laboe. 

The Don Lukens is a very well known track meet around the area, referred to by some as the “mini state meet.” Every year since 1987, 16-19 high school track and field teams come to Loy Norrix to compete in one of the biggest meets of the year. Teams come from all over Michigan, including places as far as Lansing, Niles and Stevensville. 

Many spectators attend this meet, and everyone has to pay a small fee to get in, so it brings a good amount of money into Norrix. It also gives the athletes good exposure and allows them to compete against great teams that they wouldn’t otherwise get to see, which in turn makes it more exciting than your average track meet. Many athletes feel like they perform better in meets with more competition. 

“I definitely think that I perform better in bigger meets just because of the increased competition with there being more teams than at a smaller meet,” said senior track and field athlete Samuel Allen. “We really get to show off what our team and coaches have been working at for the past few months.” 

Setting a new meet record in the 800m race and winning the outstanding athlete award, Allen certainly gave everyone a good show. 

Due to the number of teams that come to the Don Lukens Invitational, the meet is an all day event. Field events start at 10 a.m., and the very last event of the day usually ends at about 7:30 p.m. Though this extremely long day may seem dreadful and boring, some athletes actually appreciate the extended amount of time they get for breaks in between events.

With big events like this, it’s normal for nerves to be all over the place. High emotions can either make or break an athlete’s performance, and each athlete tends to have their own strategies that help them perform as best they can. 

“I think a big part of it is to really practice how you want to perform in these meets because that’s really what it all comes down to,” said Allen. 

Other athletes share that getting into a firm routine really helps ease their nerves on meet day.

“I do a really high jump, 2 knee raises, and I stretch my back’” said senior Track and Field athlete Trevor Watts, “I also take a deep breath and hold it when the started says “set”, this helps me focus”. 

The Don Lukens Invitational is an iconic tradition that competitors, coaches, and spectators have looked forward to since 1987.