Cougars track and field teams on a roll at the Sycamore Invite

Saturday’s Sycamore Invite went well for the Cougar track and field teams. With the men’s team placing third and the women’s team placing seventh, they are one step closer to the Ohio Valley Conference Championship. 

Head Coach Marcus Evans said the teams performed well despite some challenging weather conditions.

“Both teams did well,” Evans said. “I thought it was a great day with a lot of personal bests and good performances.”

With one meet until the OVC Championship, Evans said he’ll be sad to see the fifth-year athletes finally leave after last season’s cancellation.

“I think there’s going to be tears on their last day of competition. They can look back on our program and see the legacy that they’ve built for us,” Evans said. “In a lot of ways, we’ve leaned on them to give us an insight on what our program needs are.”

COVID senior distance runner Keri Burmester said she saw big improvements to her time in the 5000-meter, taking first place with a time of 18:21.59.

“It was great and amazing to see the progress I made over the past year,” Burmester said.

Burmester said she thinks the meet went well for both teams.

“Everyone had a great day — a lot of people had PRs that day,” Burmester said. “It was a great competition. We had people in our ranges that we could keep up with.”

Due to this being her last season, Burmester said she hopes to improve her times in her races for the OVC Championship.

Sophomore distance runner Cameron Woodard said he ran his usual time in the 5000-meter at 15:54.78, but is hoping to cut that time in the next meet.

“I’m hoping to run in the 15:30’s range for the 5k next week — I think I can get a much better time,” Woodard said. 

Woodard said he would also like to focus on his 3000-meter steeplechase times.

“[I’ll be] working on things like hurdle technique and hurdle form while also making sure I keep momentum through hurdles,” Woodard said.

Junior sprinter Brandon Bretz ran the 200-meter dash at the Sycamore Invite, where he took first place with a time of 22.03. Bretz said his primary goal is to keep his pace to help progress his 400-meter time.

“At this point in the year it’s just about staying consistent — [it’s about] making sure I can continue to run times that I’ve been doing,” Bretz said.

Bretz said he wants to keep improving in whatever way he can in the upcoming weeks before the OVC Championship meet.

“I think what’s going to be most important is getting a little speed for my races — and obviously endurance, too. The [400-meter] is all about speed and endurance,” Bretz said.

Bretz also ran in the 4x100 and 4x400 meter relays with his team placing third and first respectively. Bretz said he thinks the men’s team did a great job overall and is confident in what they can do at the upcoming OVC Championship.

“I think we can do big things and place really high in the conference [championship] as long as our team stays healthy,” Bretz said.

The Cougar track and field teams will compete April 30 and May 1 at Illinois State University’s Invite.

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