Track and Field prepare for NE10 Championship
The month of May is a busy time for students with finals quickly approaching, but for the Track & Field team, it gets even busier as they prepare for the NE10 Conference Championships.
The Owls’ men’s team entered the NE10 Championships seeking their third straight and 17th conference title overall.
The Owls finished the season ranked first in the East Region, according to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association’s regional rankings.
“I don’t know if the team pays attention to it. I do,” said Head Coach John Wallin regarding the rankings, “because sometimes it’s a good indication of where everyone else is in our region and so for us, I think we look at it like if we’re number one in the region then we’re performing at the level we’re supposed to be.”
In addition, the Owls were also selected first in the conference’s prechampionship poll. Picked by the coaches in the NE10, of the eleven teams, nine of them picked Southern to win.
American International College, picked to finish second, and Merrimack, picked to finish fifth, each got one of the remaining two votes.
“Track is pretty cut-anddry with a lot of things,” said Wallin. “If you’re the top seed, typically you should win, but anything can happen.”
This is certainly a big time of year for the Owls, as all the hard work and dedication that has been put in shows in the postseason.
For senior pole vaulter Jack Brown, this time of year is all about taking care of business.
“It just gets more and more exciting for me,” Brown said, “because this is a championship that we take very seriously and we’re always just so motivated and driven to do well and with that passion we carry into this competition, it just makes it more fun.”
For Brown, who is a multi-time all-region pole vault selection, this is routine for him at this point. However, for some of the younger guys on the team, this is a completely new experience for them.
The Owls will look to Brown and his fellow seniors to serve as mentors for young talent during the postseason.
“We really just want to show them that, when it comes to these kinds of meets, to really just be as competitive as can be,” said Brown. “And to really carry that on for these next four years, because when you come into these kinds of championships there’s going to be a lot of tough competition and a lot of great athletes at this meet who want to do better than you. The other athletes from other schools, they’re not going to let up.”
The Owls’ women’s team will join the men on their trip to Southern New Hampshire University, the site of the NE10 Championship.
The women finished the season ranked third in the East Region, according to the USTFCCCA rankings.
In addition to their ranking, they were also picked to finish third in the NE10 pre-championship poll behind Stonehill and Assumption, who received eight and three first-place votes, respectively. The Owls received one of the 12 first place votes.
“I have high expectations for all of them because they’ve been working hard since indoor season,” said sophomore sprinter Begotty Laroche.
Laroche claimed the NE10 title for the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.80 seconds last year as a freshman. Unfortunately for the Owls, Laroche will not be competing in the NE10 Championship this year due to a hamstring injury.
Early in the season, Coach Wallin expressed his belief that his team can win the conference. Now going into the NE10 Championship, those beliefs hold true.
“Nothing has changed in my mind,” Wallin said. “I’m very confident we can win.”
Entering the competetion with a head full of steam, the men’s track and field team was able to capture their third championship in a row. The team scored 207 points, over 80 points more than Merrimack College.
The women’s team took home third place, scoring 83 points and finishing behind Stonehill and Assumption.