By Colleen Slattery
There is something special about track and field season that sets it apart from its autumnal counterpart, cross country. Perhaps it is the excitement of the coming spring. Perhaps it is the sunshine that pours down over the athletes as the run, jump and throw. Perhaps it is simply the fact that practices are held in the afternoon, as opposed to 6 a.m. Whatever the case, there is something hopeful, optimistic and even intoxicating in the air during a track meet. This attitude was in the air this past Friday, Feb. 20, during the first track meet of the 2015 season for the University of Dallas. The team was eager to race after three weeks of training without any chances to compete.
The team traveled to Tyler, Texas for the East Texas Time Trials, hosted by the University of Texas at Tyler. Schools in attendance included the University of Dallas, East Texas Baptist University, Wiley College, Jarvis Christian College, Southwestern Christian College and the hosting school. The meet was solely a time trial, and so there were no final official team scores.
The meet started off with a bang, and a few more feathers for first-year Head Coach Matthew Barber to place in his cap, in the two-mile race. Senior Clare Myers and junior Ryan McAnany, both school record-holders in cross country events, broke the respective female and male records for the event. Myers coolly and calmly took second in the race overall with a time of 12 minutes, 24 seconds, a time that effectively demolished the previous record for the event (12:56). McAnany placed fifth and raced to a time of 9:58, besting the record of 10:05 set in the 2014 season by his current teammate, Kevin Doherty.
The meet was also a debut for a handful of freshmen who raced for UD for the first time on Friday. Distance runner Angela Moore impressed onlookers in both the two-mile and the mile leg for the women’s distance medley relay “B” team. Moore managed to place third in the two-mile with a time of 12:58.
“It was absolutely incredible to have everyone cheering me on at all points of a race,” she said. “Even having someone run beside me, giving me crucial advice and encouragement, was stunning.” Despite her strong performance, the Texas native named aspects that she would like to improve.
“I especially need to work on spurring myself for the final kick at the end of the race,” she commented. “Practice and experience will help.”
Fellow freshman and sprinter Cameron Mitchell also performed well on Friday in his first collegiate competition. Mitchell competed in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, as well as the triple jump. His times of 12.47 seconds in the 100 and 25.50 in the 200 mark him as an up-and-coming star for the sprinting squad. His strength in racing, he said, comes from the ever-essential block starts.
“I really liked my starts out of the blocks. I believe that’s the most important part of the race,” he said. Mitchell said he is excited to be a part of the UD Crusader track and field team. His ever-present smile is proof enough, but he also said it in words.
“I loved [the meet]! There was really tough competition, but I will continue to do my best in order to get where I need to be,” Mitchell said.
The mixture of experienced upperclassmen strength and the new additions to the team–freshmen and sophomores willing and excited to compete–is sure to be exciting to watch throughout the spring. The Crusaders travel to San Antonio, Texas next Saturday, Feb. 28, to compete in the Trinity Open.