Team looking good, performing well on the track

by Scott Schleisman

Coach Wayne Stacy and the track team are excited to start this year’s competition.

With only three seniors on the men’s and women’s squads combined, Matt Albert, Ross Parker and Sarah Rowles, the team is admittedly young.

“Despite having a young team, everyone has really bought into the team concept,” Albert said. “It’s rare to see such talented freshmen realize that track is actually a team sport.”

This freshman class is Stacy’s first full recruiting class.

“I like to recruit a team that will be better for the outdoor part of the season,” Stacy said. “Since we don’t have an indoor track, we might as well play to our advantages of what we do have.”

Stacy has put a large emphasis not only on team speed, but on field events as well. The outdoor session of the season, which starts on March 13, has more field events than the indoor meets. Hammer, discus and javelin are some of those field events.

Simpson has three returning athletes who have qualified for the NCAA Championships in years past: Albert, Parker and junior Reid Leichty.

“This year we hope to qualify several more individuals as well as a relay,” Stacy said.

He said other individuals who may stand out this year are junior Brian Caskey and Rowles.

“Some of the freshmen are demonstrating a good work ethic and great talent, and may even qualify for the NCAA tournament,” Stacy said.

“In the offseason, we had a good core group who worked every day, put in the time and motivated each other to work hard,” Albert said. “It’s obvious that a lot of people have been training hard the last couple of months.”

The team had a five-week practice in the fall where they met together for training, but since then, it has been up to individuals to work out.

“It’s easy to see who has gone above and beyond the offseason workouts already,” Stacy said. “I wait to announce team captains until I am able to see these kind of results. Being named team captain should not be a popularity contest, it should be about who has worked the hardest and who pushes the team to work the hardest.”

The track season started on Jan. 10, but since then the team has participated in three meets. On Jan. 15, Simpson took second place at the Graceland Invitational. Last weekend, Simpson performed at back-to-back meets at Central and Buena Vista.

“I expect that we’ll finish higher in the Conference this year than our seventh place indoors, and fifth place outdoors last year,” Leichty said. “Coach has a great offseason workout, although I did more of the beach-workout. I may not be fast after my knee injury but I can still look good in my speed suit.”