The men’s and women’s track and field teams competed in the Jim Wuske Invitational at the University of Mount Union on Saturday, Feb. 4, earning multiple personal records and top finishes.
Mid-distance runner Emmett Barr, ’17, said the meet was longer the team expected, and they were there for about 17 hours.
“People executed race plans really well and stayed pretty positive even though it was a long day,” Barr said.
Barr competed in the men’s 800-meter and mile, finishing first of 45 in the mile with a time of 4:29.98.
Barr said the meet was delayed due to more athletes participating than expected and the small size of the track. Barr was scheduled to run around 2 p.m. but did not compete until 6 p.m. when the meet was supposed to be wrapping up.
“Being there for a really long amount of time—it was hard to stay focused, and I was racing twice so it was hard to time when to warmup,” Barr said.
On the women’s side, Amanda Balzer, ’17, and Aubri Caslin, ’17, earned top finishes for Allegheny, both placing second in their events.
“In my races, I felt good, and normally that gives me an idea of how the race is going to turn out, just by listening to my body and seeing how quickly my lead legs are going over during drills,” Balzer said. “As a team, our morale was where it needs to be. We’re supportive of each other and rooting each other on at the end of the day.”
Balzer competed in the women’s 60-meter hurdles, finishing with a finals time of 9.26.
“I think everything is starting to connect from sophomore year to now, I’m finally understanding the sport, and it’s clicking,” Caslin said.
Caslin began competing in the outdoor season during her first year at Allegheny, but did not compete indoor until her sophomore year. At Mount Union, Caslin placed second of 48 in the weight throw with a distance of 15.42, the farthest this season and second best of her career. The performance was the fourth best in the NCAC this season.
“I could not finish the ball. I threw a 15.42 and if I had finished it probably would have been about a meter farther,” Caslin said.
Even though many team members found success at Mount Union, Balzer said injuries and the strain on muscles from overuse is a challenge the team has faced this indoor season.
“We’re a young team and not everyone is used to the workload that year-round track does to the body, so a challenge can be staying mentally tough and knowing that it might be hard now, but it’s going to get better,” Balzer said.
Barr said the teams have done well executing race plans and staying focused at meets, but they need to train harder.
“We’ve been working hard, but I think we need to work a fair bit harder, and it needs to show on race day,” Barr said.
As outdoor season approaches, Barr is looking forward to the broader range of events that the outdoor season brings.
“I run the 3,000-meter steeplechase, so there’s water barriers and hurdles, which I really like. It’s a lot more fun than just running on a flat track,” Barr said. “Outdoors I get to do that because they don’t have that event indoors. I’m one of the top returners for the 3K outdoors as well, so it’ll be fun.”
Barr, Balzer and Caslin said that their goals for this spring include placing well in the conference and reaching the national competition.
“I definitely want to go to nationals; it’s not unreachable, but it’s definitely going to be a lot of work. And I want to be in the top three of the conference. We have a couple girls who go to nationals every year so I want to get top three with them,” Caslin said.
Balzer said she is working to break the school record in the women’s 100-meter hurdles and getting all-conference this season.
“Outdoor season is my stronger of the two seasons, so if I can make it to the national stage, that would be a good way to end senior year with a bang,” Balzer said. “I’m looking forward to having fun and being with the team that I like to be around. Being around friends and having that family aspect is something I’m really gonna miss when I graduate.”
The track and field teams will compete at The Big Meet at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan on Saturday, Feb. 11.