Jennifer Hoffer – Sports Writer –
After placing third in NE-10 Championship meet, the Southern track team will advance to compete in the NCAA Championships on Mar. 8, in Birmingham Ala.
Senior Asher Brandt said the team is excited about the NCAA Championship meet because it is more team-oriented. That is their biggest goal going into this meet, is winning the NCAA Championship.
“But with the amount of talented senior runners red-shirting it will be a much closer meet this year,” Brandt said.
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, the cancelation of the Valentine 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 its 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 which is of course the NCAA Championships. But as a captain, he said he loves seeing the younger players really starting to step up.
“Its very exciting because young guys have really been coming up and working well into our program,” Lebron said. “We all work pretty hard so theyre 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 comradery 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.