TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The 2012-2013 season for the Indiana State track & field team begins on Friday as the Sycamores compete in the Eastern Illinois University Early Bird. Competition will begin with the men’s weight throw at 4 p.m. (ET) while the track events start at 5:10 p.m. (ET) with the 60 meter hurdle preliminaries.
The early meet has several advantages for the Sycamores as they head into the Christmas Break before coming back for the bulk of the indoor season.
“It is obviously more important for the kids that have been in fall track,” John McNichols, Indiana State men’s track & field head coach, said. “They have been training since the end of August. They are definitely ready for a real good test and Eastern Illinois always provides that.”
The season opening meet has seen some outstanding performances by the Sycamores but the coaching staff is looking for more input as they continue to build the team for the Missouri Valley Conference championship.
“This first meet is definitely a reward for all the hard training that the athletes have done during the fall,” Angie Martin, Indiana State women’s’ track & field head coach, said. “It is a great time for the athletes to see where they are at and what direction they need to go when we come back from break. There is the possibility of some saying that they are in good shape and looking to what they need to maintain that while for others they may not be where they want to be and they have to see what they can do over break to get better.”
The benefit of the intensity from actual competition is not lost on McNichols.
“This meet lets us know where we are at going heading into the vacation,” McNichols said. “We could just train through this time period and just start after Christmas but this is a good reminder of what competition is like. It is much different than just training. The intensity it takes to race is different than you can generate in a workout or against your own teammates in practice.”
Both coaches are anxious to see how their respective athletes handle the competition, both from the newcomers and from the returning veterans.
“This is an exciting time of the year,” Martin said. “It is the end of the current school semester but we are just getting started. The staff did a very good job of recruiting to fill in a few of the holes that we had last year. We are taking a smaller group to this first meet as we are resting some and others are still recovering from injuries but the attitude of the team is good so far and we are pleased with the progress we are making in that department.”
The competition in Lantz Gymnasium on the campus of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Ill., is just a short drive and a good opportunity for area fans to see the Sycamores compete.
“Eastern has a good facility and it is a short distance away,” McNichols said. “It is a good way to culminate fall training and takes us into the final week with a strong reminder of what it takes to compete and then how active they need to be over break to come back and be ready in January. Hopefully we will have a good crowd.”
McNichols expects this year’s team to be strong in every event this year.
“We are going to have a strong team this year,” McNichols said. “We are good in the throws, strong in the vault, and have good people in the horizontals, particularly long jump. Then on the track, from the sprints right up through the distance races, we will be good.”
The field events open the competition with the men’s weight throw starting at 4 p.m. (ET). That will be followed by the women’s weight throw, men’s shot put, and women’s shot put. The pole vault, long jump, and triple jump start at 5 p.m. (ET) with the high jump at 6 pm. (ET).
The track events will start at 5:10 p.m. (ET) with the preliminaries in the 60 meter hurdles followed by the 60 meter dash preliminaries, the mile, 60 meter hurdle finals, 60 meter dash finals, 400 meters, 600 meters, 800 meters, 200 meters, and the 3,000 meters. The 4x400 relay will conclude the competition starting at 9:10 p.m. (ET).