Outdoor track hopes to replicate indoor success

Outdoor track hopes to replicate indoor success

Freshman Kristen Flanigan practices hurdles in the first week of outdoor track practice. The girls team is coming off a second place finish in indoor track.

Kailey Tracy, Copy Chief

With two medals around her neck, senior Kiana Wright walked away from the IAAM ‘A’ indoor track conference championships as the winner of the long jump and the triple jump Feb. 1.  According to track head coach Robert Torres, both the men’s and women’s outdoor track teams will have similar individual successes this season.

Although the women’s team lost  talent from indoor track to lacrosse, Torres cites Wright as a strong athlete, among others.  “Kiana Wright and [senior] Rebecca Driver are two of the top athletes in the league,” Torres said.  Senior Sam Clarke is also a “big contributor.”

“My particular goals [for the season] are to reach at least 5’2” and maybe 5’4” in the high jump,” Clarke said.

The men’s side encompasses strong distance runners such as seniors David Knaide and Derek Alban, according to Torres.  Senior Austin Markley, who competes in multiple field events and is a sprinter, also adds to the mix.  “[Markley] is the best athlete in the conference,” Torres said.

“My individual goals are to get first in everything I do, and no matter what try my hardest,” Markley said.

The men’s team as a whole is the two time defending IAAM ‘B’ conference champion.  Despite some “holes to fill” from talent lost from last year, Torres predicts they “have a good shot” of repeating their title.

Markley agrees with this prediction.  “I think that we should easily be able to take the title again and be champions three years in a row,” he said. “We lost some distance people, but we still have strong ones on our team that can easily make up for the others being gone.”

The women, coming out of a second place finish in the IAAM ‘A’ conference indoor track championships, will have difficulty doing as well in outdoor, according to Torres.  He attributes this outlook to the decreasing number of athletes on the team each year.

Clarke sees the team’s championship finish in indoor as an inspiration for the outdoor season.  “It gives us a goal to strive for.  We lost a lot of people from last year’s team, but we also gained so many who look particularly promising,” she said.

Just as the women have lower numbers than in years past, the men fall into the same boat. However Clarke foresees this as a possible advantage.  “This smaller group makes it easier to motivate one another and keep everyone focused,” she said.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Markley believes the low numbers mean “we do not have much support.”  Despite this, however, he feels “with the guys we have on the team, we can still be defending champs.”  Either way, the smaller turnout will impact both teams, according to Torres.

Sprinting into the outdoor season, the track teams will tackle six more events than in indoor, and hope to maintain their successful streaks.

Kailey Tracy is the Copy Chief for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.