BY JULIA WHEELEHAN
This weekend’s track meets happened in Charlotte, North Carolina and Orlando at two locations as the team split up.
However, it clearly took their toll on the University of Tampa track team. The longer meet, the 49er Classic, had provided an opportunity for long distance runners to stretch their legs. It took place on Friday April 16th and Saturday April 17th. There, three UT runners, placed in the top 20 for the 10,000 meter race.
“I did not get a PR at Charlotte but it was a good race and great learning experience,” said James Dooley, a freshman long-distance runner.
Dooley ran the 1500M in Charlotte and got a time of 4:13, compared to his PR of 4:10, his time for the UT invite two weeks ago.
Monika Brill, a freshman, said she also had room for improvement.
“I did worse which I was not happy about because I was hoping to run faster since it was such a big meet,” Brill said said. She finished the 1500M with a time of 5:00.42.
Brill was concerned about the runners she would have to face at the event and how that would affect the competition.
“It was more of a Division 1 meet so there were lots of good runners there,” Brill said. There were around 70 schools competing that weekend, with over 3,000 student athletes in attendance.
Dooley was concerned about other racers as well, but found that the track meet helped helped him grow closer to his teammates, especially Brice Easton, another freshman runner that he ran alongside.
“We had great competition with a lot of great runners,” Dooley said. “It helped all of us on the team learn a lot about racing.”
The students’ fellow runner, Mitch Arnold, a senior, did get a PR at Charlotte. It was his first time running a 10K race, making it an automatic PR for him. The older long-distance runner got a final time of 33:12.04 landing him in the 19th slot for the 10K out of the top 20, making him one of the three aforementioned UT place holders.
“There were a lot of teams and athletes I was racing against for the first and probably only time ever,” Arnold said. “Running the 10k on the track for the first time just allowed me to see how I would perform and it was really just me versus the clock.”
Arnold recently started to run 10K races, instead of his usual 5K races.
“25 laps seems intimidating,” he said “But talking with my coach and teammates I knew the pace was going to be a little slower and more controlled than in other distances.”
In Orlando, at the Black and Gold Challenge, UT sprinters took a hard hit and they struggled to place high on the scoreboards.
“I ran faster at our home meet than yesterday,” said Mia Yancy, a freshman sprinter. Yancy had a final time of 13.07 in the 100M dash and a time of 26.94 in the 200M dash.
However, with the season just starting, all runners hope to improve enough in time for the next meet the USF Invitational next weekend.
“I’m excited for USF,” Arnold said. “I’ve always ran well there and almost always set a new personal record. I’m running a different event than usual, a 1500M race, so hopefully I come back with another fast time to keep finishing my last few races on high notes.”
The USF Invitational will be held in Tampa on March 22nd-23rd
“You learn how to adjust to different schools since every track isn’t the same,” Yancy commented. “I’m hoping I’ll be ready for the USF invitational with more practice and PT this week.”
Julia Wheelehan can be reached at email@example.com