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Track and field: buying into the team concept

By Justine Von Arb

Sprinters. Throwers. Distance runners. Jumpers. Five coaches. One team.

The track and field teams are fairly young this year, and many freshmen are preparing to make their debuts. Track and field head coach, Mike McDowell, is eager to see first performances from freshmen, including Jeremy Brassard, Ryan Larkin, Matt McCoy, Naomi Springer, Alexa Beezhold, and Emily Troemel.

Freshman are not the only additions to the team, though. Alexandra Acker and Nicole Farr have also joined the coaching staff. Acker is assisting with jumps, while Farr is assisting with mid-distance and recruiting.

McDowell said that Acker and Farr were welcome additions to the Olivet community. “It makes a huge difference,” McDowell said.

Junior Bethany Pilat, who co-captains the women’s team with Junior Madison Moyer, is looking forward to what the new coaches and athletes are going to bring to the team. “I’m looking forward to their new, fresh takes on what it means to compete well,” Pilat said.

Several athletes are returning after strong performances at the NAIA National Championships at the conclusion of the 2014 season.

Junior Amy Blucker, a returning all-American thrower, said that she was excited for the upcoming season. “I’m most excited for seeing how far I can go and how far my team can go,” Blucker said. As the national runner-up in the shot put, she’s aiming high, working toward a championship performance at the end of the season.

In addition to the high goals that individual athletes are setting, McDowell said that team goals, such as winning conference, are also important. “As a coach, I’m always looking forward to what potential we have,” McDowell said, anticipating good performances in the men’s and women’s 4×8, the women’s 4×4, the pole vault, the throws, and the jumps.

Junior Dylan Creger, who leads men’s team with Senior Marshall Hawn, agreed. “I hope to get everyone to buy into the team concept for track and field, even though it is largely viewed as an individual sport,” Creger said.

Creger also looks forward to watching the performances of his teammates. In cross country, all athletes perform at the same time, but in track and field, Creger is able to watch the throwers, sprinters, jumpers, and even other distance runners. “It is really fun to cheer on people and watch them succeed,” he said.

Pilat eagerly awaits the beginning of the season. “The Lord has a lot of great things in store,” she said.

The Tigers have an intrasquad meet on Dec. 6, but their competitive indoor season will begin in January.

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