Men’s indoor track and field place second in NE-10 Conference Championship
Philip Zoppi – Sports Writer
The men’s indoor track and field team at Southern placed second out of 11 teams at the Northeast-10 Conference Championship in Boston, Mass.
The Owls finished with 121.50 points, which was 55.5 points behind American International College (177 points) who won the NE-10 Conference Championship for the second year in a row.
John Wallin, the head men’s track and field coach at Southern, was disappointed that his team didn’t take home first place, but understands that a lot of his younger players are still learning.
“I was disappointed with some of the athletes that didn’t step up, but the silver lining is it’s a good indication of what they need to do in the future,” said Wallin. “Our really good athletes stepped up and did great, and I’m proud of them.”
Wallin is operating with a young team; 67 percent of the team is comprised of underclassman. Wallin looks to his upperclassman to try and motivate and carry the team in big tournaments like the NE-10 Conference Championship.
Redshirt senior, Michael Lee, did just that.
Lee broke his own school record in the triple jump and set a new NE-10 record with a jump of 15.65 meters. Lee’s performance at the NE-10 Conference Championship got him named as one of the Connecticut Army National Guard/Southern Connecticut State University Athletes of the Week.
Lee was pleased with the results he earned individually, but was more pleased with the way the team performed.
“We had some strong showings,” said Lee. “We’re a very young team and showed a lot of promise and fight. Obviously it could have been better, but we just use that as motivation to get us ready for the outdoor season.”
Both Wallin and Lee agree that the team is much more effective as an outdoor team. Lee has high hopes for the outdoor season next month.
“There’s a lot of motivation going into the outdoor season,” said Lee. “We’re more of an outdoor based team, because of the different events. It’s going to be exciting to compete outside.”
Lee was not the only senior that stepped up. Tresley Dupont, a redshirt senior, won the weight throw and earned a NCAA provisional mark of 18.49 meters. Wallin was pleased with both Dupont and Lee for the way they got the team ready to compete.
“You expect those guys to go out and dominate a meet,” said Wallin when referring to Dupont and Lee. “They’re the best example for our young kids of how to perform when the chips are stacked against you.”
Wallin then pointed out a situation late in the meet where he thought Lee set a great example for his freshmen.
Every event at the meet was finished besides the triple jump. Wallin said every athlete and coach then crowded around to see what would happen. Lee lost his lead to a Franklin Pierce player and then took it back with the pressure of the entire meet watching. Wallin was pleased with the way Lee handled it.
“I thought it was good for a lot of the freshmen to see how he responded. It’s good for them to see he didn’t do anything different in that moment,” said Wallin.
The Owls have now climbed from No. 22 to No. 19 in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
Southern’s next meet will be the NCAA Championships set to commence on March 11 in Pittsburg, Kan.
Photo Credit: SCSU Athletic Communications