The women’s and men’s track teams traveled to Carbondale during the weekend and continued to show high levels of energy while competing.
Assistant coach for distance Kayla Brown said this weekend was important in preparation for the team’s upcoming travels to Grand Valley State University.
“I feel the track meet went really well,” Brown said. “We had a couple athletes compete on the first day, and the rest competed the next day, so this has been a tune-up weekend for next weekend, so we are just trying to ramp up for the rest of the season.”
During the season, junior jumper Julian Harvey has been having exceptional performances, and Brown said he had standout performances along with other athletes.
“We had Julian Harvey continue to jump well,” Brown said. “The women throwers also came up huge with PRs to set them up for conference, so it was a nice tune-up these last couple of weeks.”
Brown said she can see things getting tougher as the season progresses, and she just wants her athletes to keep having a positive attitude and mindset.
“I think just the further we get into the season, the academic load continues to get harder and harder,” Brown said. “But we have to push through and really focus on school, athletics and making it a priority because at the end of the day, we are here to do a job.”
Even though the Cougars have been performing at a high level, Brown said she is not looking to make any changes physically, but mentally.
“I don’t think we are looking to make any huge changes,” Brown said. “We just want to continue trying to block out the little things and turn off our brains and just throw ourselves into the competition.”
Brown said their meet in Grand Valley State next weekend could bring some competition for the Cougars.
“We have a meet in Grand Valley State, and that is a big two-day meet,” Brown said. “It is an oversized track that is good for running events, and it can bring some great competition.”
Assistant coach for jumping Joey Pacione said the meet was successful, and he is happy to see the athletes showcase great performances.
“I feel it went really well for the whole team,” Pacione said. “Julian Harvey set six inches in the long jump, and the athletes ran good races, so it was pretty successful.”
Pacione said Harvey was a highlight for the meet as well as the women who ran the mile.
“[Harvey] long jumping was definitely a highlight moment,” Pacione said. “Also with the women’s mile, the girls went in first, second and fourth place, which is great.”
Even though the track meet was successful, Pacione said he did not notice any roadblocks that the Cougars had to face.
“There honestly weren’t any obstacles that I’ve noticed during the meet,” Pacione said. “Judging from how the athletes performed, they overcame it.”
Pacione said he hopes to see the improvements made during practices show up in the next competitions.
“At least for the jumpers, we just want to see the changes we have made show up in competitions,” Pacione said. “We are going to Grand Valley State, and that is a really big meet, and it is a good competition, and it will be great to see our athletes compete at their highest, so we are trying not to change much.”
Pacione said he is very eager for the next meet and conference to see how his athletes perform.
“I am very much excited for the future,” Pacione said. “It’s awesome, but every single week, I see more athletes stepping up, and it’s just making me think we have a very special team that [is] going to do great things in the long run.”
Harvey has been having a superb season thus far, and Harvey said many thanks have to go toward Pacione.
“This season is going great for me,” Harvey said. “It is amazing to have a coach like Pacione because he helped me in the events I’ve competed in.”
Harvey said he is excited and thankful, but still feels like there is always room for improvement.
“I feel great,” Harvey said. “The top 16 go to the national meet, and I think I’m 18, so it definitely feels good to be there up there in top ranks. There is definitely a lot more work to do.”
Harvey said if he and the team continue to have a positive outlook toward their next meets, they can only receive positive results.
“Everything is going great right now,” Harvey said. “I don’t see anything bad happening so as long as the team is feeling good, everything will fall into place.”
The Cougars travel to compete in a meet hosted by Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich., on Friday, Feb. 12.