The Charger men’s track and field team opened its outdoor season this past weekend at the Van­derbilt Gold and Black Invi­ta­tional. With many of the dis­tance runners side­lined for one more week, sprinters and field event com­petitors stepped up to deliver solid opening per­for­mances. Head coach Andrew Towne said he saw good things from his team but expects improve­ments going forward.

“We def­i­nitely have some things to improve upon,” Towne said. “We need to con­tinue working at being com­pet­itive. I think we’re a very tal­ented team on the men’s side but we’re not exactly where we want to be just yet. We just have to keep com­peting every chance we get.”

A few indi­vidual per­for­mances stood out this past weekend including senior Seth Overla in the javelin and junior Nathan Pando in the 100 meters. Overla plays for the football team in the fall and throws javelin during the outdoor season in the spring.

“I was on the football team and decided to take up track as a spring sport when I got injured during football,” Overla said. “I couldn’t really play contact sports anymore. I did throw in high school so I thought I’d give it a try. Javelin just kind of came out of that.”

Overla threw in com­pe­tition for the first time this year. He and his coaches decided to stick with a slower run-up rather than the full out sprint typ­i­cally accom­pa­nying a javelin throw.

“The meet went pretty well for me,” Overla said. “We started out with only doing a very slow run-up in terms of tech­nique. We were just going to go real short and sweet. I ended up with a PR of about 2.5 meters. That was a really big thing with con­fi­dence as well.”

Pando also per­formed well down in Nashville.

“Per­sonally it went pretty well con­sid­ering it was the first meet of the year,” Pando said. “We traveled about 8 hours for a two day meet so the travel con­straints don’t bode well for doing well. Our group specif­i­cally pre­pared really well for it.”

Pando was opti­mistic about his team’s chances as the rest of the season pro­gresses.

“I think that how we did as a group and a cohesive unit was pretty good,” Pando said. “Obvi­ously our times weren’t very good. If you com­pared them to our times at the end of the year last year, they’re not even close. That being said, the exe­cution of the tech­niques and stuff that we’ve been working on a lot are coming through.”

The team will con­tinue with com­pe­tition this weekend with the Oliver Nikoloff Invite in Cincinnati, Ohio.