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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.”