Track and Field has returned to action after its shortened winter break, already competing in two meets as a team since the beginning of the new year.
The men’s team won the Jan. 15 Penn 10-Team Select and posted great results at the Jan. 22 Villanova Invitational. Women’s track and field posted a second place finish at the Penn 10-Team Select and also posted impressive results at the Villanova Invitational.
“I feel like we took a really good step forward,” said Women’s Head Coach Mike Henderson. “We came through and saw a lot of improvement and even better performances the following week. So it was great to see everybody in action again.”
Much of this success is the result of a combination of rest, especially for athletes who have recovered from injuries, but also an amplified focus on practice once returning from break.
The team was free to leave campus after finishing final exams at the end of the fall semester and the majority of the team returned during the first week of January, prior to the start of classes. Once back on campus, the athletes had an opportunity to focus solely on track and field and did not have to worry about the classroom.
“You basically feel like a professional athlete,” said senior women’s sprints captain Kayleigh Furth. “It’s really just wake up, practice, get lunch, practice again, get dinner, and go to sleep. So it really is a constant grind.”
One athlete who dominated in his return from injury was junior men’s jumps and sprints captain Smith Charles. After missing the first meet of the season due to a hamstring strain, Charles won both the 60 meter and long jump at the Villanova Invitational.
“In all the meets I’ve ran the 60m I have had a consistent drop in my time, so you know, I’m able to run at a higher speed again,” said Charles. “So that feels pretty good.”
The Red is set to host the Kane Invitational this weekend on Saturday at Barton Hall. The meet presents a good opportunity for the team to develop its younger athletes and to prepare for the final stretch of the season, which will culminate in the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships (HEPS) at the end of February.
“I’m expecting a pretty fun meet this weekend from a lot of the younger guys because a lot of them are just getting back,” added Charles. “The home meets are where everybody on the team really gets a chance to perform and do everything.”
As the track and field time gears up for this final stretch, they have one clear goal in mind. This team wants to finish the season on top.
“Our goal is to win HEPS. For the men and women,” said Men’s Head Coach Adrian Durant. Everything that we’re doing, that we’re building, is to try to win this team championship.”
And with records being broken nearly every meet and personal bests emerging almost every week, this team certainly has the talent to finish as number one.