Both the men and women track and field teams will be back in action this weekend for the SIU Bill Cornell Spring Classic in Carbondale.
Southern Illinois at Carbondale, Western Illinois, Murray State, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Marquette and Eastern are the teams will be competing at the meet.
The women’s team is coming off of a successful indoor season where they took first place in conference. Head coach Tom Akers acknowledged they have a target on their backs for the outdoor season.
“The bad part about winning a championship is people just assume that it’ll happen outdoors,” he said. “We just got to make sure we’re not complacent.”
The weather is going to be a big factor for Eastern’s athletes as they have indoor facilities, unlike other teams in conference.
“I think with us having an indoor facility, I think that’s a huge advantage for us during the indoor season with us being the northern most school in the conference,” Akers said. “That’s a huge disadvantage for us once we get outdoors just because we have poor training conditions as far as weather is concerned.”
Junior middle distance runners Dhiaa Dean and Kristen Paris went first and second in the 800-meter dash last year at the conference meet and Paris is coming off an impressive indoor season in the 800 and the mile. Akers is still unsure what events they will put Dean in this year.
Junior jumper and sprinter Angelica Anyaogu, who missed last years outdoor season, is healthy and finished a good indoor season in the long jump and 60-meter dash. Akers also talked about putting together a pretty good 4×100 for the women, which he is excited about.
The men return a 4×100 relay team that earned the second fastest time in the school’s history last season. They have three returning members.
Redshirt senior Danny Trevor is a returning champion in 110-meter and 400-meter hurdles.
“We want to see him continue to progress, and I think he’s right now training-wise off to a really good start,” Akers said.
Despite the length of time between the indoor and the outdoor seasons, Akers said he thinks the teams will do fine if they can find the right mindset.
“I think we’re all right, we’re looking pretty good and I think training has gone pretty well this week,” Akers said. “We’ll just see if we can get back into that competitive frame of mind.”
Akers said he hopes for the teams to be able to have the competitive drive back for the start of outdoor season.
“Break the ice, hopefully figuratively not literally on the outdoor season, get back into the competitive frame of mind,” he said.
Mark Shanahan can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]