The men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams competed at Indiana University in the Dan Gladstein Invitational on Jan. 18 and 19. With the help of recently recruited freshmen, the team shows promise of a successful season.
Youth will also be the team’s greatest challenge this season, said Andrew Towne, head women’s track and field coach. Last season, the team consisted mainly of seniors, and now much of the talent resides in the freshman class.
“We could run into a few bumps that you wouldn’t have if the team was older,” Towne said.
The men’s team also has a large influx of freshmen. The biggest surprise, said Jeff Forino, men’s head track and field coach, was two freshmen who also played on different Hillsdale sports teams. Freshman Todd Frickey is a current football player and freshman Alex Mexicotte previously played on the baseball team.
Junior Maurice Jones, who missed first place at the NCAA championships in 2012, was the top runner in the 200-meter dash. Mexicotte placed sixth and junior Michael Shaw placed seventh in the same event.
Junior Justin Fawley took fifth in the heptathlon and junior Matt Raffin placed third in the 60-meter hurdles.
“The older guys are now maturing and they are becoming solid,” Forino said. “You can count on them now. They will perform well.”
Senior Kayla Caldwell, currently Hillsdale’s record-holder in pole vault, beat her previous record at the Gladstein Invitational, clearing 4.2 meters. She placed first at the meet.
Freshman Emily Oren took 2nd place in the 3000-meter run.
“I was so proud of the distance girls this weekend,” junior captain Victoria McCaffery said. “They ran some fabulous times, which is impressive for both how young this team is and how early in the season it is.”
Distance will be the women’s team’s greatest asset this year, Towne said, having lost the fewest upperclassmen in those events.
Forino said that the men’s greatest challenge this season will be “progressing and staying healthy.”
“We have solid freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. Next year we will be pretty darn good,” he added.
These earlier meets will help the team prepare for the NCAA indoor championships in March, Towne said.
“The first few meets get us jump-started to where we need to be,” he said. “The quicker we can get back into the swing of things, the better we will be able to perform.”
Hillsdale’s men’s team is currently ranked 5th in the GLIAC and the women’s team is ranked 4th. This weekend, both teams will compete at a special quad meet in Allendale, Mich. against Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, and Grand Valley State University.