Track, field teams looking forward to indoor season

Alex Hartman, Track and Field Reporter

 

The men’s and women’s track and field teams are nearing the beginning of their indoor season and are preparing for the 2016-17 year.

Recently, they have been doing team time trials and “Turkey Trials,” as they are referred to by the team.

The Panthers are preparing for their first meet on Friday, Dec. 9, which will be held here at Eastern.

Some competition at the opening meet for Eastern will include Illinois State and Indiana State.

Other meets during the indoor season include going out of state to Indiana, Notre Dame and Grand Valley State. Then the NCAA Indoor Championships will be held in Texas at Texas A&M.

Throughout the season, Eastern will be hosting three more home meets in the Lantz Fieldhouse, including the Indoor OVC Championships.

There have been good performances this preseason by the team as a whole, as seen in the inter-team competition, known as Turkey Trials. There have been many personal records set and Turkey Trial records broken so far this preseason.

Eastern coach Tom Akers said there are a few standout athletes and veterans that will really help the team throughout the season.

“There are a lot of good cross country runners that make a great distance team; senior John Piper will look to have another great year, senior Kristen Paris will hopefully return from an injury-plagued season to have a good season and junior Haleigh Knapp is looking ready for the season,” Akers said.

Akers also pointed out a pair of sprinters and a senior thrower for the women.

“Senior sprinters Johnathan Boey and Jamal Robinson provide a one-two punch combo,” Akers said. “And senior Bryn Buckwalter is a great asset for the throwers by being a hard worker, a great thrower and a good leader.”

When it comes to the season itself, things like sickness and injuries happen, but it is key to stay on task and not lose focus.

“As a team we look to stay consistent with, keep working hard, and focused on the future. Because we need to be at our best when it counts at the end of the season,” Akers said.

Associate head coach Jessica Sommerfeld said the throwers have a lot more depth coming into this season.

“We have four incoming freshmen, as well as our defending conference champion Bryn Buckwalter. This year, there is a lot more depth, and the competition for a spot on the team has increased,” Sommerfeld said.

Eastern will look to repeat last year’s overall success of a men’s OVC Indoor Championship and second-place finish for the women.

Akers wants to continue the success they have had going into this season.

“We want to defend our championships in indoor and outdoor this season, as well as looking to be one of the best teams in conference,” Akers said.

Alex Hartman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]