Outdoor meets begin

With the indoor season almost over and the outdoor season coming soon, SPU’s track teams are warmed up and ready to step into the ring.

The Husky Preview indoor/outdoor meet is Saturday at the University of Washington, but head coach Jack Hoyt sees the Salzman Invitational on March 9 as the grand finale of the indoor season.

Hoyt is satisfied with the team’s performance indoors, seeing the meets as a sort of "glorified practice" that has helped prepare the athletes for the upcoming outdoor season. "I think people did really well," Hoyt said, adding that "as a whole, they feel good about the amount of training" they’ve undergone.

Not all schools choose to take this sort of approach toward the two-part track season, but it has been beneficial for SPU. Hoyt recognizes that track isn’t really focused on indoors, and he is looking forward to bringing some well-trained athletes to the outdoor season.

He cites seniors Rachel Ross and Stephanie Huffman and sophomore Ally Studer as some members who have trained and performed well so far, with sophomore Paul Mach pulling off a surprise performance in the 60-meter hurdles.

Ross finished second in the 800-meter dash, and Huffman finished sixth in the high jump in the Vandal Indoor meet on Feb. 16.

Hoyt was particularly pleased with senior Dionna Anderson’s performance in the shot put in Idaho. Anderson crushed her previous record by almost two feet with a throw of 45 feet, 3 inches, the eighth best in NCAA’s Division II this season.

The performance qualified Anderson for the NCAA Division II Indoor Championships on March 8 and 9 in Boston, Mass. Anderson was the only Falcon to qualify for the indoor nationals.

Perhaps one of the reasons Hoyt chose to use the indoor season as a "glorified practice" lies in the make-up of this year’s group. Hoyt recognizes he has a very different team than last year, with several top seniors graduated and some new transfers.

Hoyt said he was "very pleased with the Idaho performance" but also saw value in the road trip itself. It gave the team a chance to bond, or "gel," as Hoyt put it, which he considers important.

Hoyt feels the team is more confident now than at the beginning of the season, having come through indoors together. It was a good indoor season, both for training and performance, and now they have the spring meets to be excited about.

"I guess we’re really looking forward to outdoors now," Heritage summed up. "That’s where our mind is at." The recently sunny weather is something that makes it pleasant for Heritage and the team as well.

By early April, the team should have a good idea of who will or won’t make it to the outdoor nationals, according to Hoyt. The Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships are May 4 in Bellingham, and the NCAA Championships are May 23-25 in San Angelo, Texas.

With this group’s talent and hard work, everyone is optimistic, especially the women. "[The women] look pretty solid to hopefully repeat as conference champs," Hoyt said.

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Title: Outdoor meets begin | Author: Michelle Steen | Section: Sports | Published Date: 2002-02-27 | Internal ID: 2526