Today: Apr 21, 2024

Women’s Track and Field ready to go

Senior Sarah Saylor during a triple jump.

Chardoneé Wright, Staff Writer:
Motivating the women’s track and field team not only serves a purpose during the season, but it serves a purpose in life as well, said women’s track coach Chris Covert confidently as he took a deep breath. Covert said all the coaches strive to encourage the team to always put forth their best effort.
“Training and life and track has its peaks and valleys, so you just have to figure out a way to get them through the low points the best you can, and I think we do a good job of doing it,” said Covert.
Track and field has one of the longer seasons in sports said Covert. He said he tries to keep the team on top of their game.
“A lot of kids have been training since the summer and there is no down time at all,” he said. “We will give them a couple of weeks to be on their own, but we try to encourage them to do some training over the summer.”
With a six-week outdoor season coming up, Covert’s expectations are to win.
“I like to think we could win the outdoor meet,” he said. “We have the same team pretty much that we have indoor, and they want to win again.”
Overall, Covert has a positive expectation about his team’s performance as well.
“We have a bunch of really good sprinters,” said Covert. “We have a solid front group of distance runners. We have a nice group of pole vaulters. We have a good overall team.”
Even though Covert believes track is important – there is another factor that is just as important– school should always come first for his team.
Covert said, “You have to be a student first and an athlete second.”
Junior runner Alasia Griebel said being a student athlete isn’t that hard.
“I think it’s all about time management,” said Griebel.
According to Southern’s website, Griebel was the 2010 indoor Northeast-10 champion in the 1000 meter run. She assisted in the women winning the title for the Northeast-10 indoor championship.
Missing the sport after quitting in her sophomore year of college is what brought Griebel to the team at Southern.
“I started when I was a freshman in high school,” said Griebel. “I did track and field at UConn and I quit my sophomore year and I really missed it. So I reached out to the coach here and he put me on the team.”
Also according to Southern’s website, six athletes from the women’s track and field team have been sent to the NCAA championships.
Winning another championship is only one of the Griebel has for herself and her team.
“Overall, our expectations are to win the Northeast 10 championship and move up the national lists with all of our performances,” said Griebel. “Individually I have the same goals.”
Alicia Gray, senior geography major and captain of women’s track and field team has similar expectations as Griebel for the team.
Gray is a pole-vaulter and has been participating in track and field for eight years.
As team captain of indoor and outdoor track and field, Gray was excited to take on that role after having a role in other leadership positions. Gray said she doesn’t let her responsibilities as captain get the best of her.
“The responsibilities are keeping the girls together and making sure everyone gets along because it’s hard to have a team where no one gets along,” said Gray. “Track is a very individual sport, but it takes everybody to par¬ticipate with each other at practice and come together and score points for the team.”
In addition to the outdoor season beginning, Gray is looking forward to May 12, 13 and 14. The New England Championships will be held on these days.
Excited, anxious, eager – is the way Gray feels about the New England Championship being hosted at Southern for the first time.
Gray said it’s the first outdoor home meet at Southern in all her years of matriculating here.
“We’ve never had a home meet within the four years I’ve been here, so it’s going to be big,” said Gray.
Staying mentally focused before every track meet is what Gray said keeps her humbled.
“I feel like every athlete has something they do before a track meet,” said Gray.
“I’m a pole vaulter , so it’s a very mental sport. It’s something you need to have your head right with all the time. If you don’t have your head right, it gets pretty complicated. I’ve struggled with that a few times, and I am still trying to overcome it.”
Although a little nervous before some meets, Gray and Griebel said they still do their best during meets.
Griebel adds that working towards the National Championships not only means a lot to her: It gives her the self-motivation before every meet.
Gray admits to using her nerves to her advantage.
“If you are nervous, it gets your adrenaline rushing,” said Gray. “It gives you a lot more to be excited for. It pushes me more.”
In Covert’s fourth year with the women’s team, his ability to recognize his team’s strengths is what he said allows everyone to work together.
“I think, we always need to get better in everything,” said Covert.
If we are going to continue to be at the level that we want to be at, we have to get better at everything all the time.”

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