Track running into the outdoor season with high spirits

Photo curiosity of Henry Gustafson

Chris Karmilowicz

Sienna Coleman

Both the men’s and women’s track teams look to translate indoor success to outdoor triumph 

Optimistic is an apt word to describe how the Ursinus Bears track and field team feels about its winter and spring seasons.

They hope that the solid base of training indoors will lead to great success outdoors. Coach Carl Blickle, a National Championships Mentorship Grant recipient, and coach Crystal Bacon, winner of the 2016 Broad Street Run, guide the team through smart and serious training that puts an emphasis on injury prevention.

The indoor season began early December and, for NCAA Division III qualifiers, will continue into early March. The outdoor season promptly follows.

This season, coach Bacon has designed injury prevention workouts specifically for all event groups. To prevent setbacks caused by injuries, the Ursinus Bears follow the training at practice and are mindful outside, when they concentrate on optimizing nutrition and facilitating recovery through sleeping, stretching, and rolling. Mere seconds can be the difference between winning and losing, and the team believes that attention to detail in all areas is crucial to success. Blickle says that their mantra for this season is “big things are accomplished only through the perfection of minor details.”

Sprint captain Tia Wisdo agrees that this strategy is working. “We seem to be healthier and stronger due to the new lifting workouts and injury prevention activities that we do regularly,” she said. “With all of these new additions, I am very excited for this season.”

Sprinter Caroline Buckley added, “It’s incredible: All of us compete in different events but you will always have a teammate cheering for you whether it’s during a track workout, lift, or a meet . . . ! It’s so helpful to be close to everyone during those tough times.”

Distance captain Joe Iuliucci insisted that “the future is bright” for the team because it is full of talented first-year student athletes.

“I am impressed with how this season has been going so far,” said junior captain Jequan Mitchell. “We have a lot of freshmen stepping up to big roles and I think they are going to be a great attribute to our success in the [Centennial Conference].”

Mitchell is also optimistic about the Centennial Conference championship in late February, noting that the team is “in a great position to be highly competitive.”

Last year the women’s and men’s indoor teams ranked fifth and third in their conference, respectively. Both teams hope to repeat and surpass the team’s performance from last year. The men’s team is enthusiastic about their potential to do well in both the 4-x-200 and the 4-x-400 relays.

On Jan. 27 the Bears competed at the Muhlenberg Invitational. Erin Farrell, a returning conference champion, claimed gold in both the 200-meter and the 55-meter; first-year student Sophia Simoes placed second in the shotput with a shot of 10.33 meters.

On the men’s side, Mitchell ran for gold in the 200-meter; junior Adam Myers won with a shot of 13.89 meters. Such performances early in the season build great fitness and confidence while contributing to the strength of the team as a whole.

Emphasizing that it is the consistency in training that is most important, Coach Blickle said, “throwers are [getting] stronger in the weight room, sprinters are [improving] their speed and technique, blocks, hurdles, and distance runners are continuing to build their mileage. We are constantly improving every day [on this] specific path that we [are following].”

The success the team has this season with the consistent training and competing will set them up for even greater success come spring. The Bears will be competing next at the Valentine Invitational in Boston Massachusetts on Friday Feb. 10 and will continue on Saurday Feb. 11.