Sacramento State Track and Field hopes that the outdoor season will bring the opportunity for greater marks and performances.
As the season shifted from indoor to outdoor, the track and field team found the move to be painless.
“The transition from the indoor to outdoor season was easy,” said head coach Kathleen Raske. “Because the indoor season was short and we train outdoors all year long.”
The outdoor season has some of the same events, along with a few added events that are not in the indoor season. Some of the events are the 4×100 meter relay, 100 meter relay, 100/110 meter hurdles, 3,000 meter Steeplechase, 1,500 meter relay, 10,000 meter relay, 400 meter relay, the javelin, the discus, and the hammer throw, said assistant coach Scott Abbott.
Raske said the team has two goals this season.
“Our first goal for the outdoor season is to repeat as Big Sky champions on the women’s side to make it a four-peat because no one in the history of the Big Sky Conference has ever done that,” Raske said. “On the men’s side, we have never won an outdoor title so we are vying after that. We are hoping for a double-team title for the Big Sky Conference championship here at home.
The second goal has to do with the NCAA championships.
“Our second goal is to advance as many athletes as we can onto as many NCAA championships as possible,” Raske said. “Beyond that, we want to advance as many on to the finals, produce All-Americans, and score points at the National level. These goals have been set for quite some time so they know exactly what they are going after.”
Abbott agrees with Raske that these two goals are the main focus of the team.
“We definitely hope and expect to win conference titles on both the men’s and women’s side, especially considering that we are hosting the outdoor conference championships,” Abbott said. “We have won three indoor titles on the men’s side in the last five years, but we have yet to win an outdoor title for the men, so that is definitely a focus for us. Our women have been the dominant program in the conference for both indoor and outdoor for the past three years, and we expect that to continue this season.”
By accomplishing these goals, the team hopes to have a successful season. Abbott said with this year’s team they will be able to accomplish their goals.
“We are trying to solidify ourselves as the powerhouse program in the Big Sky Conference,” Abbott said. “And to continue to gain notoriety and respect on the Regional and National level. This can be a banner year for Sacramento State Track and Field, as we are fielding probably our strongest team in our program’s history, so we want to take full advantage of the opportunities that are available.”
Raske said the team has not changed its strategy or training for the outdoor season.
The athletes who are going to push the team are All-American 800-meter runner Lea Wallace, all-American long jumper Ronald Brookins and conference leader Emilio Hernandez. Raske said Brookins and Hernandez are valuable to the men’s team because Brookins is the best hurdler in the conference and is a Big Sky champion in the 100-meter relay, and Hernandez leads the conference in all three jumps (the triple jump, the long jump and the high jump). Abbott said they have more athletes than ever primed to compete at the national level.
“Usually the spring semester is a little more stressful between the business of the academic year ending and people trying to make plans for the summer,” Raske said. “There is a lot going on, at the same time we’re trying to keep (the athletes) focused as well as get them to take care of their business and all the externals so that they can just focus when it comes time for championship season.”
Because the season is longer, the team feels they can use that to their advantage for more progression, Abbott said. The athletes see it as a chance to be more competitive and score more points at the Conference Championships.
“The outdoor season is much longer and it typically produces greater marks and performances because your training has progressed over the course of the year,” Abbott said. “The outdoor season has more events and more of the team is involved. The indoor season was a nice warmup, but the outdoor season is the real deal.”
You can reach Stacey Adams at [email protected]