While students all over campus triumphantly finish hell week, the Track and Field team begins their most important meet of the season. Today marks the beginning of the 2010 Track and Field Midwest Outdoor Conference Championships, held in Jacksonville, Illinois. During the two day meet, the men’s and women’s teams will compete against their eight Midwest Conference rivals for the top spot. Last year the men finished third and the women fifth. This year, the men’s team hopes to repeat 2009’s podium finish.
“I think if we run really well we can get in the top three,” said David Montgomery ’10. “I think this year we have enough depth across the board in all the events that we could score really well if everyone’s on their game.”
The women struggle due to a lack of members this year but hope to have lots of good individual races.
“I just want all of our athletes to compete in their events,” said Interim Women’s Head Coach Jeff Pedersen ’02. “That’s one thing we’ve tried to stress from day one this year … the aspect of competing against other people out on the track.”
The team is unusually small this year due mainly to the absence of many strong runners from the class of 2011.
“[We have a] much smaller roster this year.” Pedersen said. “We have 11 or 12 distance runners abroad this semester and then we have some other little nagging injuries.”
As small as the team may be, they have grown significantly since indoor track season.
“We should be much more competitive than we were in Indoor” Pedersen said. “We’ve added a few new athletes from other sports … they’re looking to do some good things.”
Additionally, the women’s team is looking to the hurdles, distance events and the young sprinter phenom Isabelle Miller ’13 to pick up points for the team.
“Distance is traditionally strong,” said sprinter Frances Leslie ’10. “Isabelle Miller is amazing. She just can do everything really well.”
On the men’s side, the strength comes from Kyle Lynch-Klarup ’10 in the mid-distances, Joey Snyder ’10 in the javelin and discus as well as a host of strong distance runners. The team has shown their depth by replacing many of the school’s top ten best marks throughout the season. Due to these positive results from the men’s and women’s teams the excitement for the weekend is growing.
“This is the meet they’ve been working for since January” Pedersen said. “All the meets count but this is what they’re building for.”
Despite the excitement, this remains one of the roughest academic weeks for many student-athletes.
“It’s always ironic that we’re supposed to get the most sleep of the season this week [while] it’s hell week and everyone’s working really hard on academics,” Montgomery said. “So conference never comes at an ideal time for us but I think people will be ready come Friday and Saturday.”