This weekend the qualifying members of the men’s and women’s track & field teams will travel to Boston to compete in what could be their final meets of the season. The men will compete in the IC4As and the women will compete in the ECACs. After strong regular seasons by both the men and women, these year-end meets give the athletes a chance to shine on a much larger stage.
“The IC4As is a huge track meet,” said men’s head coach Nathan Taylor. “There are 103 teams — one-third of all NCAA schools in the country. We had 25 athletes qualify for the IC4As. That’s the most in a while, possibly ever.”
“People seems pretty excited,” added women’s head coach Lou Duesing. “We’re one of 85 teams, and we know they all come to play.”
Sophomore pole-vaulter Travis Offner says that the athletes are well aware of the magnitude of this weekend’s meets.
“Everybody’s fired up and ready to go. We’re stronger than last year,” he said. “If everybody performs up to par, we should do pretty well.”
For many of the athletes, the IC4As and the ECACs will serve as a fitting end to a successful season. But, for a select few, Boston could be a steppingstone to the NCAAs.
“We are on the brink of qualifying for the NCAAs in four events,” said Duesing. “Last year, we had the performances, but we didn’t know if we could play. This year, we’ve brought confidence and determination. We want to mix it up. This is a special group.”
“Right now we have two provisional qualifiers,” said Taylor. “The IC4As will be a very competitive meet and a challenge for the athletes. It will be their last meet of the season unless they qualify for the NCAAs.”
The IC4As and the ECACs will be the final chance for the men’s and women’s track teams to give their all before turning their focus to the outdoor season. No matter how this weekend might turn out for the Red, Taylor knows that the next season is right around the corner.
“Our first outdoor meet is March 16th. We’ll give the athletes who are competing this weekend a day or two off. But, then we’ll start to focus on the outdoor season.”
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