Every member of the men’s and women’s track teams will have a chance to run this weekend, as both squads face competition here in Barton Hall and at the Penn State Invitational in College Park. The home meet features thirty teams from around the state and the East Coast, while the Penn State Invitational offers a total of twelve Big Ten, ACC, and MAAC schools.
“We decide who runs at which meet based on where we think each athlete will have the best competitive opportunity,” said women’s head coach Lou Duesing. “Certainly, some of our best athletes will go to Penn State because it’s a more competitive meet, but we also have many outstanding people who will stay here.”
Both the men’s and women’s teams will use similar strategies, sending roughly 25 of their top athletes to Penn State and keeping the rest of the squad for the home meet.
The Red’s toughest competition will be at Penn State, where big-name schools such as Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, West Virginia, East Carolina, and Pittsburg will also send their best runners, jumpers, and throwers. But, teams such as Buffalo and Binghamton will look to challenge the Red at home as well.
Coach Duesing is optimistic about his team’s chances in both venues.
“Last year we scored in eight events and beat four or five teams. We’re a better, more prepared team this year and I think everyone feels that we can do better. We’re going to go in there, stick our noses in it, and be competitive,” he said.
The Red men are also confident but know that they will face some of the fastest runners, best jumpers, and biggest throwers in the country this weekend.
Junior Jason Hart spoke for his team, saying, “This is a chance for us to see if we can play with the big boys.”
To prepare for such high-level competition, the men eased up practice this week.
“We throttled back in practice a little bit,” said Hart. “Coach Taylor wanted to make sure that everyone was fresh going in so that we’d have our best chances to really show our stuff.”
Middle and long distance sprinters stand a chance to really break out at Penn State because the track there is notoriously fast and banked.
For both Red men and women, this meet serves as the true culmination of the regular indoor season and both teams hope to go all out and perform well in both meets before tapering for the Heps championships, which loom only two weeks away.
Archived article by Everett Hullverson