The Eastern track and field program is looking to capitalize on the momentum of the Iowa Black and Gold Premiere by competing hard at the Notre Dame Meyo Invite Friday and Saturday.
Track and field director Brenton Emmanuel told his athletes that this weekend is a great opportunity for the Panthers to compete at Notre Dame and continue to perform well this season.
“I told them to continue to work hard and that we are headed in the right direction,” Emmanuel said. “As we go to some of our bigger/tougher meets to not make the moment bigger than it has to be. Trust your training and keep grinding.”
The track and field program finished in Iowa with 23 top-10 finishes. The Panthers are hoping to use that momentum as motivation, but for others who didn’t compete last weekend or who have not performed well, there is other motivation.
Senior Cedric Johnson had a good start to this season, finishing second in the 60-meter hurdles in the first two meets, but the last couple meets, he has not finished in the top five. For Johnson, some of the keys are to work on his start and to stay tall to attack his hurdles.
“Personally I want to run a better time than I have previously, especially the last two meets, I feel like I’ve gotten back in my rhythm somewhat,” Johnson said. “I’ve shaken the past results off and put my focus on this week. As a team, I just want us to keep the energy that we had last week moving forward.”
Even though the results have not been going in Johnson’s favor, this is a season that is far from over. Being a senior and having experience has helped Johnson keep his mindset where it needs to be.
“I’ve honestly just been zoning out and having fun with what I’m doing,” Johnson said. ”I keep my head up and energy positive, not (letting) anything bring my mood down, and just taking things week by week.”
Part of the meet at Notre Dame is an outside 5k race. With the weather being extremely cold during training, sophomore Maggie McPherson has confidence that she can stay focused with the current temperatures and break a personal record.
“My main focus in practice this week as well, as last week, was to work on shifting gears, even when I’m tired, so that way when I’m racing and there’s still a mile left in the race, I’m able to switch gears and power through the rest of the race rather than falling behind,” McPherson said.
Blake Faith can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]