The first two meets of the track and field season were hosted by the University of Indianapolis in the Athletic and Recreation Center.
On Dec. 10, The Hounds hosted the UIndy Winter Break Meet, where they took home a pair of NCAA provisionals by junior thrower Austin Hogan and junior hurdler Treyvon Matthews, and taking home wins in a multitude of events.
Hogan won both shotput and weight throw, while both senior thrower Jordan Boyd and freshman Justin Blakey finished second and third right behind him in shotput. Senior distance runner Brandon Smith also won the 800m event with a time of 1:59.11, and freshman distance runner Alec Scheerer won the first distance event for the Hounds this season in the 5000m with a time of 15:58.65.
On the women’s side, junior jumps Lindsey Foster won her respective event with a jump of 5.36m. Freshman Keri Ertel won the 400m while Isabel Bradley also won the 600m. Senior thrower Miranda Braun also placed third in shot put and weight throws.
The previous Saturday, the UIndy Season Opener Meet kicked off the Hounds track and field season at the ARC on Dec. 3. The Greyhounds earned five provisionals and had multiple athletes finish first in their heats and flights.
Hogan was named the Great Lakes Valley Conference Men’s Indoor Field Athlete of the Week for the week of Dec. 5, following his performance at the opener. He earned two provisionals for the Hounds, winning both shotput and weight throw. He threw a 16.92 shot, a personal record, and threw a 17.31 in the weight throw.
Matthews won his 60m heat in 8.25 seconds, earning the team a third provisional. Other notable performances include a one-two in the women’s mile for the Hounds, with senior distance runner Jasmine Al-Anzi crossing the finish line in 5:29.12 and sophomore distance runner Mickayla Wenzel crossing at 5:33.04. Ertel finished second in the 60m hurdles at 9.24. The men’s 4×400 relay team, including junior Trace Oswalt and seniors William Buelsing, Matthew Dorris and Brandon Sevitz, won its heat with a time of 3:41.63. Junior jumper Lindsey Foster won her flight with a jump of 5.38m.
Junior thrower Katie Monk earned the team’s last two provisionals by winning her shotput and weight throw. She threw 13.84m in the shotput and 17.49m in the weight throw. While she was pleased with her performance, Monk is still focused on improving.
“It was good to win, but at that point, I’m more worried about beating myself, not necessarily just beating everyone there,” Monk said.
Despite the success in multiple events, the Hounds used the opener as another stage of training and are not yet where they want to be, according to Head Distance Coach Brad Robinson.
“We used it [the opener] more as a training phase, but for all the athletes, it went well,” Robinson said. “It was positive. Even a few performances exceeded our expectations, exceeding meaning that those athletes were definitely ahead of where they were last year at this point in time and we’re not even that far into our training or racing all out. So that was an exciting takeaway from last weekend overall.
During the preseason, the team spent time lifting weights, conditioning and practicing in individual events. Monk and the other throwers threw multiple reps per practice, while the distance team focused on rebuilding its bases after cross country season. With a young team, Robinson said, he wants to limit injuries and work on strengthening those who came into the season with injuries. One of those athletes is sophomore sprinter Allen Wright, who runs the 400m, 200m and the 4×4.
“I had a groin injury going into the preseason,” Wright said. “It happened at the end of last outdoor season. If I would have just sat out then, I would be good now, but I tried to work through it. I’ve been doing a lot of physical therapy and lifting a lot of weights to get ready for the indoor season, so I don’t have to redshirt.”
Wright said he hopes to return to racing in January. Despite his injury, he has set multiple goals for himself over the course of both the indoor and outdoor seasons.
“I want to be an All-American indoor/outdoor,” Wright said. “I want to make nationals for my relay again, but [I] also want to make it in my individual event, the 400.”
Monk hopes to continue improving her technique and marks as well as getting stronger and better as a thrower. She also hopes to beat her personal records in both the weight throw and shotput. Robinson wants to improve each athlete’s performance in their respective events as well as limit injuries. He also hopes that the Hounds will be able to qualify half of their distance team for conference.
Despite not being able to participate in the opener or the winter break meet, Wright saw good things from his team.
“I see a lot of bright spots,” he said. “I see things we’re going to need to improve, but it’s early in the season, so we’ve got time. But I see a lot of bright spots. I think we’ll have a good shot at winning conference.”
Robinson and Monk also share Wright’s perspective on the upcoming indoor season, based on the team’s performance in the opener.
“I think the rest of the season will look good, but it’s definitely too early to tell,” Monk said. “With the opener, it [the season] looks promising. So if we keep building on what we’ve been doing I think the season will go well.”
With the initial success of the opener, Robinson is trying to keep the remainder of the season in perspective.
“It’s looking good,” Robinson said. “It’s very early, so you try not to look into much one way or the other, whether good or bad, trying not to get too high on the highs or low on the lows or anything, at least from a coaching standpoint. When athletes get excited, or they get a little frustrated after the first meet if it wasn’t what they wanted, [I’m] trying to remind them of what our game plan is, what we’re striving for and that we have plenty of time, basically, just staying the course. So I feel good about where we’re at right now.”
The Hounds’ next meet is the Bob Eubanks Invitational in Allendale, Minn., on Jan. 13.