By Travis Politakis
The UT track program hosted its annual UT Invitational on March 1 at Pepin stadium. The meet consisted of 16 schools and 21 events. The Spartans walked away with several broken records and personal best following their first meet of the season.
“I definitely feel like there is an advantage being able to perform on the same track where we practice every day,” said senior runner Ryan Poholek.
Poholek took home fourth place in the Men’s 800 meters with a time of 1:54:02, setting a university record. Poholek cited the camaraderie the Spartans share together as a driving force.
“We all are held together by the fact that we all love running,” said Poholek. “I think there’s a special bond that goes on when we all are up at 5:30 in the morning to run. We all love to watch each other grow and improve every day.”
The men’s team also had success in the 1500 meter, with sophomore James Dooley setting his personal best and taking home fourth place with a time of 4:01.83. Dooley was happy with his start and has big aspirations for the rest of the season.
“This race was a good starting point,” said Dooley. “I really wanted to break under four because I know that 3:55 is a school record, but for the second meet of the season I am really happy with where I am at.”
Dooley is pushing himself this season by centering his training around speed over strength. He emphasized the importance of running shorter distances to help with speed and practicing faster than race pace so that he can better gauge his time.
In addition to Ryan Poholek and James Dooley setting records, sophomore Dalton Moorley broke Poholek’s record and set a new school record in the Men’s 800 meter with a time of 1:51:71.
The women’s team also walked away with its fair share of success. Head coach Jarrett Slaven walked into the meet optimistic about her runners and how they would perform. Slaven sees the passion the team shares for running and thinks it helps bring them closer.
“All these girls are so closely knit,” said Slaven. “They’re always cheering each other on, building each other up and pushing each other to be the best. Everyone shares the same passion for running and you can see that in their relationships with each other.”
Kei Riley started off the night with the Women’s 400 meter hurdles. Riley took home second place with a personal best time of 1:10.09. Riley was happy with her performance and credits her success to offseason preparation. Riley changed her training program to Olympic Lifts, which is a lifting technique that helps build speed along with strength.
Sophomore Sydney Rhodes, news and multimedia editor for The Minaret, took home second place in the Women’s 5000 meters with a personal best time of 17:51.63, a seven second improvement. The Women’s team took home third place and set a new school record in the 4X400 meter with a time of 4:09.50.
The Spartans will travel to North Carolina to compete in the 49er Classic meet on March 14.
Travis Politakis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s Note: Sydney Rhodes, one of the student-athletes referenced in the story, is also The Minaret’s News and multimedia editor. She did not contribute to the writing or editing of this article in any way, and did not read the article before publication.