Track, field team hosts John Craft invite Friday

Blake Faith, Track and Field Reporter

Eastern’s track and field teams are coming off of a third and sixth place finish at the Illinois Intercollegiate Meet, these are still part of a process for improvement and gaining momentum for the later half of the season. 

“We’re still working on getting some of the rust off from Christmas break,” said Brenton Emanuel, director of track and field. “We’re just working on perfecting our craft and working on some of the little things that need to be tweaked.” 

This roster is still a young team with 24 freshmen combined coming into their program. 

For those freshmen and for athletes that are injured, nothing means more than putting their best efforts, getting good results and building their esteem up throughout this season. 

“I think that they are very excited for the next part of the season and they are building confidence headed into February,” Emanuel said. “Some of our athletes that have been dealing with injuries are getting healthy and that’s even more exciting for us as a team.”

So far this season, senior Cedric Johnson has done well in both meets posting a first and second place finish in the 60-Meter hurdles. 

Johnson, as an athlete, knows that there is always something to improve on. 

“Going into this week I basically wanted to focus on being more technical and making sure I attack the hurdles as I did the previous week,” Johnson said. “It definitely feels good coming into a home meet from a good performance away, so I really just want to keep the momentum going especially being at home in front of friends and family.”

Some seniors are skeptical when having a new coach come into their program their last year. 

For Johnson, he embraces his new coach, listens to his critiques and is eager to learn how to improve each week. 

“It really just shows the work that I’ve been putting in and the training that Coach E has been putting me through,” Johnson said. “We talk about it all the time how far I’ve progressed from the beginning of preseason when he first started coaching the team to now. I don’t plan on slowing down any time soon.” 

The John Craft Invite will be the first home meet in 2019. 

The Panthers will compete against Chicago State, Tennessee-Martin, Southern Illinois Edwardsville, Maryville, McKendree and Southern Indiana.

“With it being my senior year I definitely want to leave a mark before I graduate this May,” Johnson said. “I’ve set it out for myself to beat and surpass the marks of guys that I’ve trained with and lost to in the past. I definitely have a hit list out for guys that I know personally that we’ll see in future meets from different schools, so I plan on checking all of them off the list.”

The track and field program will compete in the John Craft Invite Friday at the Lantz Fieldhouse. 

The meet will begin at 2 p.m.

“As a team I just want everyone to perform how I know they should from what I see from them day in and day out at practice,” Johnson said. “There’s so much talent on this team, if everyone puts in the effort it could spark a momentum for us going into Iowa next week which is going to be one of our big on the road meets this season.”

Blake Faith can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]