SPORTS

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January 6, 2006

Young men’s track taking season to develop

For most athletes, the end of the season means one thing: the offseason, a chance to make up for time spent training that could have been devoted to other less painful pursuits. The offseason was fleeting for members of the men’s indoor track team. Athletes have faced an arduous training schedule that began with fall pre-season training and promises no rest until June.

“It’s basically one long track season,” head coach Chris Hall said. “We take indoor seriously, but we aim to peak at the end of the outdoor season.”

A bevy of promising newcomers and the Maroons’ most successful distance team (see “Spotlight On”) are primed to deliver excellent but scattered performances during the indoor season and into outdoor competition. With the longest roster in recent years, the men’s team gained a flock of quick quarter-milers and able throwers.

The men should also deliver impressive performances in the pole vault as last year’s promising rookie, Luke Sandberg, returns to the mats with a trio of gifted first-years—Seth Satterlee, John Pribik, and Jared Woodrey—joining him. Outstanding prep records don’t necessarily translate into successful collegiate careers, however, and strong performances on the track and in the field events aren’t guaranteed by a group of talented first-years.

“A lack of experience can be a problem,” Hall said. “Some of our athletes have never run indoors, while our hurdlers will have to deal with higher hurdles, and our throwers will be competing with heavier weights than they threw in high school.”

Compounding the lack of experience are visible holes in the men’s lineup with a relatively small sprint and jumps squad. The departure of Seyi Oyenuga, the 2005 UAA indoor long jump champion, combined with the multi-tasking required of most short sprinters has left the men with thin sprints and jumps squads.

“Most of our first-year talent is in distance and the 400-meter run,” Hall said. “We saw our best short sprinter graduate, plus sprinters are usually also long jumping, high jumping and triple jumping, so it’s hard to have a really outstanding short sprint squad if you don’t have numbers.”

The men will likely score respectably as they host the Chicago Opener on Saturday at Henry Crown, though how well could depend on overcoming the team’s depth problems. The meet will be small, and many of the third-years will be “Taking the Next Step” instead of competing. But it will be the first chance to see some smashing individual performances from veterans and rookies.