With their first meet this weekend, the men and women on Hillsdale’s indoor track team are fit and ready to compete. Having started practices right at the beginning of school in the fall and training until now, the athletes express an excitement to switch modes from practice to competition. They will travel to Findlay this weekend to open the 2012 – 2013 indoor season.
Senior team captain Erin Benjamin said the change from the fall training season to the winter competition season is always a welcome change and makes the team ready to race.
“People are ready to go,” Benjamin said. “We’re excited about this meet coming up. It’s like the light at the end of the tunnel because fall track training is just so long.”
With practices five to six days a week and lifting three times a week, Benjamin said the stress of training and school can be difficult, but she knows that the hard work will pay off in conference competition.
Junior Matt Raffin agreed.
“Now is the time when we get a lot of mileage in, and we’re more willing to beat up our bodies,” Raffin said. “[We have] longer practices because we aren’t competing, and so that’s the way we start out, and then we progressively slowly go less and less.”
Last year was the first year with women’s head coach Andrew Towne, and was a time of adjustment for the team, Raffin said. But now that the team is familiar with his coaching techniques, Raffin said he looks forward to seeing how people on the team react.
“I think that there is a lot more trust,” Raffin said. “We’ve all seen success in our first year, so I think he’s won over the trust of his athletes.”
With returning coaches and many returning team members, along with the addition of new freshmen, the team seems confident that it will be successful and has high hopes for the indoor season.
“Everyone returning is a lot bigger and a lot stronger, and we have an awesome group of freshmen,” Benjamin said. “I think we are going to have a really good team.”
In past years the indoor track team has placed at the conference meet and has been able to take several team members to compete at the national meet.
“The goal is to always take as many people as possible to nationals: individuals and relays,” said Benjamin.
With the upcoming meet, the team hopes to get a better understanding of where they stand against other teams within the conference.
“We are definitely excited to see, especially these first few meets indoors, what we can do,” Raffin said. “That will give us a better indication on what will happen the rest of the season.”
Benjamin said that the amount of work the team has put in should pay off as the season goes on.
“I’m just so excited to see what this team can do,” Benjamin said. “I think we have a lot of potential, [and] I think people have the right frame of mind. They’ve been working hard, they’re ready to go.”