Track and Field Opens Season at Horton Field House
Dec. 9, 2005
Normal, Ill. - Illinois State's head track and field coach Elvis Forde's expectations are always high. Although it's a tough time of year to compete due to exam week and finishing up the semester, the Redbirds are looking to put the preseason behind them and gear up for competition as they compete in the first of two home indoor meets at Horton Field House this season.
"This is a tough time of the year to compete," said Forde. "The biggest problem that we face is exam week and the last week of school before they go home for winter break. The athletes are looking forward to competing before they go home; and we as coaches are able to use this early meet as a gauge to find out where we are after a long pre-season. Our preseason is really from August until now and when you look at that, it is a really long time to be practicing without competition. It's easy for the athletes to become bored between training sessions."
Throwing events are schedule to begin at 9 a.m. with the running events getting underway at 10:30 a.m. Teams competing in the Redbird Open include Western Illinois, Northern Illinois, Valparaiso, Indianapolis, Marquette, Lincoln, Lewis and Vincennes. Although the meet will not be a scored competition, Forde is expecting his team to be competitive.
"We are just going to expect good things this weekend, not so much from a personal best standpoint, but from a competitive standpoint," said Forde. "This time of the year I don't expect anyone from any of the teams competing to be at their very best. With that being said, we still need to have our competitive edge and do what we need to do to compete at a high level."
Many of the athletes will be competing in several events this weekend to give Forde and his staff a better understanding of where the athletes are competition wise, and to also give them a chance to prove themselves for when the season gets in full swing in January.
On the women's side, Forde is looking forward to seeing some outstanding athletes compete this weekend. Andrea Mosher dominated the 400-meters last season and will look to be a force again this year. Adding an extra punch in the event, Lian Lucas has moved up from the 100 and 200-meters and will also compete with Mosher in the 400.
In the middle distance events, freshman Kimberli Smudde and Kathleen Thompson performed well in the cross country season and will look to transfer that to the track to compliment Betsy McDonald and Suzy Turner.
The women's throw squad, as well as the men's will be shorthanded. Freshman Samantha Springer, who has been hampered by a shoulder injury, will be looked upon to step up and compete well this weekend. Mark Jackson, returning from last years stellar throws squad, and Blake Gish will have a chance to show their skills this weekend.
Carrying the weight of the program last year, the men's distance squad is expected to be a force and dominate in their respective events again this season. Dan Tripp, who led the cross country team this year, as well as Bronco Meeks, Geoff Houtman and Jeremy Doherty will look to bounce back from the cross country season and make improvements on the track.
Newcomers to the team Alex Straughn, Sam Watts and Thomas Orr will lead the front in the sprinting events this weekend. Forde believes the sprints squad will make a big difference in how the team fares this year.
Parking for track and field patrons will be reserved on the east side of Hancock Stadium. Spectators may enter through Gate 2 as the doors will open at 8 a.m. Adult tickets are $6, youth (high school and under) and ISU student tickets are $3 and can be purchased at the gate.