VERMILLION, S.D. – Lindsay Joyce is excited to be coming home, not that she is that far away.
The South Dakota junior returns to the Sioux City Relays this week and to an Olsen Stadium track that the former Bishop Heelan prep calls home.
When asked what she was looking forward to the most heading into the 53rd running of the Relays which opens a two-day run on Friday, the answer was quite simple.
“Being home honestly,” said Joyce. “I love the Sioux City Relays, it’s a relaxed weekend.
“We were gone for five days last week and even though were still going to a big meet, it’s just home, it’s not going to be stressful. I’m looking forward to having fun.”
Joyce is coming off a career-best 4:27.21 in the 1,500 from the Mt. Sac Relays, becoming just the third in Coyotes history to run a sub-4:30 time in the race.
“It was really fun, it was my first time I have been to California, just taking advantage of the nice weather,” said Joyce. “It wasn’t overly hot, it was actually kind of the same temperature as it was here, really good for racing conditions.”
Joyce returns to the scene of one of her best meets of her collegiate career, a career that has seen the daughter of Dr. Steven and Kathryn Joyce overcome numerous injuries.
Last year’s Relays MVP in the college women’s division, she won both the 800 (2:16.34) and the 1,500 (4:43.17). She went on to finish fourth in the Summit League 1,500 in 4:27.89.
“It was kind of a confidence booster last year and I’ve just kind of built on that meet ever since,” said Joyce. “It was just really fun to have it on my home track.
“Last year after Sioux City, the 1,500 definitely, I like found myself, loving it the most. After this weekend it definitely just held true. I do 800 and 5K to help with the endurance and speed aspect and it just all really helps that middle distance that I really enjoy.”
A stronger dedication to the weight room has allowed Joyce to stay healthy and be part of a strong distance crew for the Coyotes.
She finished 12th at the Summit League cross country championships and was a two-time place winner in the Summit League Indoor Track and Field Championships, placing eighth in the mile and seventh in the 3,000.
South Dakota’s director of track and field/cross country and head women’s track coach Lucky Huber has seen not only Joyce, but all his women’s distance kids flourish because of the togetherness of the group.
“To get though those injuries is the passion and the love part of it,” said Huber. “Our women’s distance team has a really unique group of girls. They're all hard working, together they all love the sport, they all really respect each other and support each other. When somebody gets hurt that’s what gets them though that.
“Lindsay really works hard to be a part of that group and is a great leader for the group. As much as our cross country success and our distance kids a lot of it goes back to Lindsay and her attitude and her hard work. We love having her as a Yote. She is a great kid.”
Joyce wasn’t sure what exactly she would be running at the Relays, but whatever coach puts her in she is excited none the less.
“Hopefully, whatever it is it will be great to have family there," she said.