By: Meghan Mcnichol – Staff Writer
After about a month of competing in multiple indoor tournaments, the University of Dayton track and field team is gearing up to participate in the Atlantic 10 Conference Indoor Championship Feb. 21.
The team kicked off its season Jan. 9 at the Ohio State University’s Buckeye Classic, bringing home a second place medal. Since then, the team has been working hard and continuing to improve.
“This year one of our main focal points has been consistent performances across the board,” head coach Jason Francis said. “Everyone has just been striving to have more consistent performances week in and week out.”
Results from the last couple of meets have met the consistency criteria. Jordan Hofman, junior sprinter, has kept her times close, running between 7.91 and 7.98 seconds in the three 60 meter events she has participated in.
Paige Yeager, junior distance runner, has stayed consistent as well. In the 600 meter event her time ranges between one minute and 42 seconds and one minute and 43 seconds at each tournament.
Consistency is also something the jumpers pride themselves on. Senior high jumper, Rebecca Maj has competed in four tournaments and jumped 1.65 meters at two and 1.60 meters at the others.
This season the team added a large first year class to the mix. In combination with the large senior class, Francis is expecting big things out of his athletes this season, both indoor and outdoor.
Out of the three first years who have led their event in the A-10 division this season, two of them are Flyers.
Erin Reese, a first year from Mt. Prospect, Illinois, still holds onto the first place spot in the division for shot put. She has shown a tremendous amount of consistency, with all of her throws reaching between 13.2 and 13.8 meters.
With an immense amount of new talent, the Flyers are preparing for the A-10 Championship with their heads held high. “Our expectation going into any conference meet is to win and to bring home some hardware,” Francis said. “We will settle for second if that’s how the cards play out for us but we’re definitely going into the championship with the mindset to try to bring home another A-10 conference championship to the program and the university.”
In addition to the new talent, the Flyers are also returning many athletes who have brought home medals for them in the past.
Senior sprinter Maya Pederson broke three school records last season, and is anticipating major success again this year.
“I think that everyone on the team has the ability for greatness, especially in the A10,” Pederson said. “I think we’ll really be able to shine and show our talent. And although we are a really diverse team, I think that when we come together we can do some amazing things,” Pederson said.
After the A-10 indoor championship tournament, some athletes will have the chance to participate in NCAA tournaments, and then the transition to the spring season will begin.
“I can see the hard work and determination carrying over but as far as the specific events in some aspects they won’t carry over, but I think it’s just the different experience helps with indoor,” Pederson said.
While the team’s success during the indoor season might not foreshadow what the spring season will bring, the constant indoor training will produce positive things for the Flyers.
Coach Francis expects the team to continue to grow and get stronger as it transitions into the spring season.
“With our sport it’s just a build-up throughout the year,” Francis said. “So our indoor season just kind of builds right into the outdoor season with our peek performances always coming at the end of our outdoor season.”
With one week until the A-10 championship, the Flyers are aiming to finish strong this indoor season, and glide into a successful spring season come the end of March.