The track team started off the season with a bang, competing in their first meet at Embry-Riddle last week. They achieved competitive times in a number of different events and even setting new school records. The team showcased their skills in a number of different sprint and distance events.
A number of different runners recorded personal best times and freshman Madison Cox set a new school record in the 200 meter dash, as well as a new record in the women’s distance medley. The women’s distance medley team included Cox, sophomore Rachel Higgins, junior Chantalle Blundell, freshman Carly Bunting. Freshmen Kayla Sullivan also set as personal best in the 1000 meter for her first college meet.
“Everyone had an awesome day. I don’t think anyone had a bad race that day,” Sullivan said.
Although the women had great success at their first meet their season, it is far from over and the team is now preparing for their next meet in two weeks against USF and other Division I schools. The team is putting in extra work to prepare for the meets ahead. “The team is working very very hard and is not taking any rest days,” said coach Jarrett Slaven.
The men also had a good start last weekend, with a number of personal best records set, and came close to setting a new school record in the distance medley. The distance medley relay consisted of freshman Eddie Keenan, sophomore Jessie Boria, junior Scott Billings and senior Steven Dennig.
The men’s track team is getting ready to compete against USF in a couple of weeks. “I’m challenging them and they’re a good group they definitely want to be challenged and pushed and want to go to the next level. The key to training this team to be at their best is teaching them how to focus,” said Assistant Track Coach Dror Vaknin.
Although USF is the next meet for the Spartans, the following six weeks will be a true test for the track team packed with meets against Division I schools, including the University of Florida and University of North Florida. UT will also be hosting their own meet next month.
One major goal for the team throughout the season is to dig deep and pull out some of their best times in order to qualify for the Raleigh Relays in North Carolina at the end of March. As of now, the Spartans already have one runner, Blundell, who has qualified and will be running the 10K. This meet is high paced and designed to run a lot faster than normal track meets with races at night and a bigger selection of events to participate in. Raleigh Relays always has high caliber athletes with runners hailing from a number of different schools including Duke and Virginia.
Melissa Torre can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org