Indoor track facing new challenges


Matt GadSports Writer

Breaking up a season with the holiday break is never ideal for any coach
or any program but indoor track and field, like men’s and women’s basketball and the swimming
programs, takes a direct hit from the calendar.

“It’s the worst thing in the world to have a break like that in-between [the season]. You go home
and get comfortable but then you need to come back and be grinding until the end of the season. It isn’t good for any sport,” Wallin said. This year, though, there’s an added obstacle for the Southern program, and many other Division I, II and IIIs: the New England Championships, typically put after everyone’s conference meets,
has been moved in front. Wallin and senior sprinter Luke Velez know it’s a new challenge that
has to be faced.

“One of the big championship meets that we focus on is usually after the conference meet; the
conference is usually the start to our championship season but this year it’s different. The New
England meet is going to be two weeks before our conference meet so we really try peak for that
meet,” Velez said.

So far in the season the indoor team has competed at the Barber and Wright Alumni Meet, the
Elm City Challenge, the Yale Season Opener and the Saint Thomas Aquinas Division II
Challenge, which was held in Staten Island, N.Y. Jan. 12. Ahead the team will compete at the Dr.
Sander Invitational Jan. 26 and then will have the Metropolitan Championships Feb. 1 and 2nd in
New York, N.Y. and the moved-up New England Championships, in Boston, Mass, Feb. 2 and
3rd.

The Northeast-10 Championships this year will be Feb. 17 and 18th in Northampton, Mass. and
then there will be one more chance for student-athletes to qualify for nationals at the Boston
University Last Chance Meet Feb. 25.

“[The schedule] may change the tactics of how we run and where we run [late in the season],”
Velez said. “I hope it wasn’t a permanent change. For the younger athletes’ sake I hope
[changing the New England meet] wasn’t a permanent change but I know for outdoors the
schedule is going to stay the same.”

Last year the Owls placed third at New Englands when they were held Feb. 24 and 25th in
Roxbury, Mass. A change in the scheduling, Wallin did not schedule the BU Last Chance Meet
in the 2016-17 campaign.

And on the indoor season as a whole, Wallin said the expectations are to perform well at New
Englands and to win the conference meet and also to send more student-athletes to nationals than
they did last season.

“We’re frustrated with the change,” Wallin said. “Some people really like it but its not good. But
we’re just trying to win the conference and send a bunch of kids to the national meet … if we
have three guys there and they each win we score 30 points and then it places us as a team. [With
the meet switch] we advance based on performance.”

Photo Courtesy: southernctowls.com

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