Track team excels in field events, hopes for improvement in track events

Track team excels in field events, hopes for improvement in track events

by Brandon OrtaleStaff Writer

The men and women of Simpson track and field participated in the Wartburg Invitational on March 24. It was the first outdoor meet of the year and first meet in three weeks.

Head Coach Dave Cleveland wants to be a well-balanced team in all events.

“The team needs more depth and in order to have that, we need more bodies,” Cleveland said. “We especially need more men and women in the 400 and 800-meter group through recruitment. We don’t have any key performers, but it is about everybody contributing to what they can do.”

Cleveland understands how tough track is and what it takes to be dedicated to the sport.

“In order to be successful in track, one needs to be self-motivated, a goal setter, competitive, (with a good work ethic and a hate-to-lose attitude),” Cleveland said.

According to Cleveland, the strongest events for the men and women are the throws. The men finished first, second and fourth in the shotput at the Wartburg Invite.

“The field events are early in the meet, so if we have strong performances in them, then as a team, we can build off of that,” Cleveland said.

Junior Robert Best thinks Simpson’s throwing will be great in two to three years, but finds it difficult to compete with the low numbers on the team. Best finished first in the discus with a throw of 41.71 meters and in the shot put with a 13.85 meter mark.

“Track is a sport of numbers, and it is hard to score with just quality and not quantity,” Best said.

On the other hand, senior Kelsey Hagerty thinks the women have a young team.

“The younger girls show improvement every single meet,” Hagerty said. “As they compete, they get stronger and better and grow a little bit.”

Hagerty is a two time National qualifier and started the year with a javelin throw of 39.53 meters.

“My backgrounds in volleyball and softball have helped me in throwing the javelin,” Hagerty said. “Both sports come together and create the motion of throwing the javelin.”

Besides coaching each other through practices and supporting each other in practice and at meets, Cleveland videotapes memberes at practice and at meets.

“We watch ourselves in slow motion and look at the technical things they may have to work on,” Cleveland said.

Best takes preparation for meets seriously besides working hard at practices.

“The night before, I get a good meal and I’m in bed by 10 p.m.,” Best said. “On the way to meets, I get even more sleep, go through throwing in my head, and I listen to my i-Pod to get pumped up.”

Freshman Kellie Whitney has a ritual of listening to music before and during the meet.

“I listen to the ‘Karate Kid’ theme song every time before and during the meet,” Whitney said.

Whitney thought there were some big performances from her teammates in the first meet of the season.

“I think people stepped up their game because it was the first outdoor meet,” Whitney said.

Freshman Tyler Jordison ran the 800-meter in a time of 1:58.54, finishing second. He still was unhappy with his run.

“My legs were heavy from the hard workouts,” Jordison said. “I want to get my time down to a 1:54 by the end of the year.”

The last meet before the outdoor meets began was the Iowa State Last Chance meet on March 3. Cleveland described it as a meet where large and small schools tried to qualify for Nationals.

“The athletes, who performed set their best times and gave them a boost for the outdoors,” Cleveland said. “Our goal is to be in the top three or four for women and top five for men. For outdoors, there are added events, so we can improve from where we were indoors.”