Miami races toward warmer weather
Published: Friday, March 22, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 22, 2013 00:03
Ohio winters can be unpredictable often times and both the men’s and women’s track and field teams at Miami University are well aware of this.
Both teams will be travelling to Vanderbilt University for the annual Black and Gold Invitational this weekend in hopes of warmer weather and a successful competition.
The RedHawks have not been able to train outside much this winter because of the cold and unpredictable weather. Men’s Head Coach Warren Mandrell said it is hard to practice timing and explosive events unless they are on a track.
“We hope it’s warmer at Vanderbilt,” Mandrell said. “The winter in Ohio slows our training and we can’t get the reps we want to.”
The Black and Gold Invitational is a familiar venue for the ’Hawks, and Mandrell said this is the fourth consecutive year they have made the trip. The men’s cross country team competed at Vanderbilt last fall as well.
Mandrell said he hopes this meet, which should be full of Southeastern Conference (SEC) schools, will give him a gauge of where the ’Hawks are standing after one meet.
“The meet has grown every year since we began coming,” Mandrell said. “It is typically a competitive meet, and it will show us where we are as a team.”
Mandrell expects senior distance runner Jarrod Eick and junior sprinter Jahquil Hargrove to lead the ’Hawks against the field of competition.
The addition of the steeplechase, javelin and hammer throw will allow Mandrell to see where the ’Hawks stand. These events are not included in the indoor season.
“It’s the first opportunity for a lot of events,” Mandrell said. “I think our usual suspects [Eick and Hargrove] will perform well.”
The women’s track team is also in search of warmer weather.
“We’re praying for warm weather,” Head Coach Kelly Phillips said. “I’m tired of this winter.”
The women’s team has a better indicator of their talent because they competed in nine indoor meets compared to the men’s two.
“We had the indoor season to see where we are but [The Black and Gold Invitational] will be a good competition,” Phillips said.
Phillips said the meet is not formally scored so it does not necessarily matter where the ’Hawks finish as a team.
The ’Hawks took nine athletes to the University of Central Florida during spring break to compete, but Phillips said she viewed that meet as more of a practice.
“[Vanderbilt] is our first real meet,” Phillips said. “We’ll have around thirty athletes competing. We’ll see what we need to work on for the spring.”
As for a top performer, Phillips set the standards high for the Red and White.
“Hopefully they all do well, I expect them to,” Phillips said. “Having javelin, hammer throw and steeplechase will allow us to see the events we don’t see indoors.”
Though the meet is not scored, both the men’s and women’s teams will have a better indicator of what they need to do to pursue a Mid-American Conference Championship.