Jennifer Hoffer – Sports Writer –
The Valentine Individual meet that was to be held in Boston, Massachusetts this past weekend was canceled due to the blizzard. So the track players are staying fresh and getting ready for their next meet, which is the following weekend, also in Boston. For this, though, the team will be competing for the NE-10 Championship.
But for players like Nick Lebron and Asher Brandt, the cancelation will not deflate the motivation of this team at all.
“The Valentine meet is just all about running fast,” Brandt said. “The competition is fantastic as is the facility at Boston University. ”But it’s not a team-oriented meet, so the fact that it got canceled is not a big deal.”
Brandt did say they are excited about the NE-10 Conference Meet because it is more team-oriented. That is their biggest goal going into this meet, is winning the NE-10 Conference.
“In the past few years we have won this meet fairly easy,” Brandt said. “But with the amount of talented senior runners red-shirting it will be a much closer meet this year.”
Brandt said the team, overall did very well at the Giengack Invitational. He said more important ones are coming so these are just training type meets.
“Paul Ryskowski ran especially well at this meet in the 3K,” Brandt said. “He has finally become healthy, coming off an injury. Freshman, Thomas Cassello performed quite well in the 3K also.”
For Chris Babcock and Nick Lebron, they said, that this cancelation of the meet throws their game off a little bit.
“When we get weather like this it kind of bums us a little bit but teams with find a way to fight their adversity,” Lebron said.
Babcock agreed and said that it’s an inconvenience because most guys on the team look to improve their qualifying times coming into the meet. But then again, he said, it only gives us more time to prepare and come in with the right mindset to compete.
Lebron said for him, his job as a captain is to have every one fresh and ready for the big meet coming up next Saturday, which is of course the NE-10 Championships.
But as a captain, he said he loves seeing the younger players really starting to step up.
“It’s very exciting because young guys have really been coming up and working well into our program,” Lebron said. “We all work pretty hard so they’re all just trying to follow in our footsteps.”
Brandt said they have really improved as a team overall and are working harder than ever.
“We are working out more this season than we have been in the past,” Brandt said.
“We are getting stronger not only running-wise but also for our lifting and distance runners.”
The team comradely is superb at the meets, Brandt said. At practices the separate groups of sprinters, runners, jumpers, and throwers will hang out in their individual groups.
“At meets, though, everyone will come together and cheer for a fellow teammate competing which I absolutely love,” Brandt said.
Our strength is something we’ve most improved, Lebron said.
“We get more mature as a team by getting stronger in the weight room, stronger on the track and finishing well at practices and at the meets,” Lebron said. “People are stepping up in every aspect.”
So Lebron said for now they are just focused on winning the NE-10 Championships next weekend, go to the New England’s and win that championship.
“And with all that confidence under our belt, head into nationals,” Lebron said.