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.