Track and field gears up for conference meet

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With a focus on preparing for the Great Lakes Valley Conference Championship meet, the University of Indianapolis Track and field team has participated in a variety of events to better prepare for the conference meet.

The team has spilt among multiple different meets in the past weeks to allow each entity of the team to see the best competition that they can, according to Assistant Track and Field Distance Coach Brad Robinson.

On Feb. 16, many of the runners and throwers participated in the Buckey Tune-Up Meet in Columbus, Ohio.

Redshirt junior Austin Hogan placed at the top in multiple events, earning fourth in shot put and fifth in the weight throw.

Senior sprinter Sanjay Daley also placed in the 60 meter dash. On the women’s side sophomore Kerigan Ertel earned eight in the 60 meter hurdles, followed by senior Majaica Brooks in ninth.

The previous weekend, al of the Hounds competed in a series of three separate meets; the Grand Valley State University Big Meet and Hoosier Hills on Feb. 9 and the UIndy Invitational on Feb. 10.

Robinson explained that athletes are sent to different locations based on their competitive levels.

“It really depends on a few things. First and foremost, competition level adequate to the athletes that are going to compete that weekend,” Robinson said. “So there’s actually three different places we went to. We had some our hurdlers and throwers in particular went to IU because the competition was appropriate for them there.”

According to Robinson, many of the most competitive runners traveled to Grand Valley State because of their large track and better atmosphere for competition. For many of the athletes, they had the opportunity to compete only on Sunday at UIndy in the Athletic and Recreation Center.

“The reason we went there [Grand Valley] is because it’s an oversize track, so 300 meters. It’s a very distance-heavy meet so it’s more suitable for athletes                         competition-wise. Then the rest of the athletes who didn’t go to IU or Grand Valley competed at home here on Saturday.”

Throwers competed at the Hoosier Hills Meet, held in Bloomington, Ind., where redshirt junior thrower Katie Monk replaced her previous school record in shot put by launching a 15.54 meter shot and finishing third overall. Daley also reached a provisional time running 6.86, placing him first in the conference for that event.

At the Grand Valley State Big Meet, distance runners had the opportunity to compete against  difficult competition, according to senior distance runner Casey Wendorff. He completed in the 5K race with a time of 15:37:40. Wendorff said the variety of athletes present at meets as large as the Grand Valley State Big Meet helps motivate UIndy athletes to perform their at their top level.

“That is the best possible competition for a 5K,” Wendorff said. “That’s where everybody goes to get a good 5K mark in the Midwest because the track is an oversize track, so that means less turns, which means you can run a faster time. The competition that’s there is just incredible. There were seven heats of the 5K and there was over 30 guys in the race for each section, so you always have someone to push you, someone to race throughout the whole race even when you’re finishing.”

At UIndy, the Hounds celebrated Senior Day with senior jumper Lindsey Foster tying a school record of 5.60m in the long jump and sophomore Deju Miller advancing her high jump ranking in conference to third. Junior distance runner Brianna Leonard also competed at UIndy and said that she hopes the team’s momentum will carrying into conference. A number of the team members are already set to compete in the GLVC meet on Feb. 24-25.

“I expect a lot of competition from our runners [at upcoming meets],” Leonard said. “I know we’re just going to try to get the most points we can and get the highest placement. I know that’s the goal, everyone is going to come with their best.”

Leonard’s sentiment was echoed by Robinson, who said that the team’s recent success is evidence of the athletes’ hard work and effectiveness of training strategies.

“It [the scores] was a very big benchmark for us on how our training is going preparing for conference,” Robinson said. “It kind of shows that the training we’ve been putting in is adequate, it’s on pace, on par. For several of our athletes that qualified for conference,  [it has put them] in strong position not only to just be competing in conference but in position to score as well.”

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