Track gears up for indoor season

Natalie Hyland, Staff Reporter

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When Track and Field Coach Kevin Adkisson first started his coaching career at CWU 25 years ago, there was no way he could have predicted what kind of Track and Field he would be coaching in the coming years. This year, the women’s team  looks like they’re going to be tough competition in the upcoming season.

Last season the lady Wildcats placed 2nd at the Outdoor Conference meet.

“It was definitely the culmination of the mission we have been on to bring ourselves into the three,” Adkisson said. “[Last season] was the first time we had ever been in the hunt for the title on the women’s side.”

There were a number of female athletes who had exceptional performances last year. However, many have since graduated, and the roster this season has a fighting chance to defend or even surpass it’s placing last season.

Last season Senior Elena Gomez, a transfer from Boulder, Colorado, broke the school record in the 10,000-meter race, and smashed the previous time by nearly 20 seconds. Gomez simultaneously placed 3rd at conference finals.

This year Gomez hopes to take her season all the way to nationals, as well as continue to drop time in her events.

Among the returning athletes is Senior Madison “Maddie” Garcia. Last season Garcia anchored the 4×100 meter relay, breaking the school record by nearly half a second. Garcia also broke the 200-meter school record with a time of 24.61 seconds and placed 2nd in the conference championship. During the preliminary round, Garcia placed 5th, then caused a complete upset to finish 2nd in finals.

“It was a huge surprise,” Garcia said.

Garcia also placed 3rd in the 100-meter race. Her goals for this season include lowering her school record time in the 200-meter race and breaking the current standing 100-meter race record from 1977 of 11.8 seconds. She also hopes to return to the conference championship and hopefully move on to nationals.

“I’ve always been the typed to set my goals low and then exceed them, so it’s time to set them higher,” Garcia said.

Another returning athlete is Junior Ali Anderson. Last year Anderson not only set new personal best times in all of her events at conference finals, but she also placed in the top three in each event, including 2nd in the 400-meter hurdles, 3rd in long jump, 3rd in heptathlon and 3rd as a part of the 4×400 meter relay.

Heptathlon consists of seven events including: long jump, javelin, high jump, shot put, a 200-meter dash, a 100-meter hurdles and an 800-meter run.

“My favorite event is the long-jump because I’ve been doing it the longest,” Anderson said. “It’s  really technical, I can see improvements with each jump.”

This year Anderson hopes to not only get back to conference finals, but also reach nationals with a national provisional time. Anderson’s pre-race traditions include a silent prayer to make it around the track without getting hurt.

Staying healthy is a common goal  for the female athletes and one that is definitely not lost on Senior Pole Vaulter McKenna Emmert. Last season Emmert recovered from injuries and a surgery, which greatly affected her performance.

“Last season was pretty bad,” Emmert said.

Choosing not to dwell on the past, Emmert has instead turned her focus to achieving her goal of successfully clearing a height of four meters, which translates to roughly 13 feet. Emmert’s current personal best is 3.83 meets, roughly 12 ½ feet.

“I like that a lot of people are afraid of [vault].  It’s extremely technical, there’s always something to improve, you can’t just be strong or fast,” Emmert said, “Oh yeah, and I get to fly.”

Before the Wildcat women can return to the GNAC Outdoor Conference Championship, they have some tough competition.

“The GNAC is always tough, it’s hard to predict quite what will happen at this point,” Adkisson said. “Seattle Pacific, Anchorage and Western Washington are always tough competition.”

The track team began practicing in early October and will continue to practice until outdoor conference championships in May. The indoor season officially begins on Dec. 4th

“[Indoor season] is our first look at seeing how we stack up against the other teams,” Adkisson said. “We view most of the indoor meets as workouts to prepare for the outdoor season.”

Once the outdoor season begins there are plenty of big meets and invitationals to prepare for. One of the biggest meets is the Stanford invite. For this meet only the best of the best athletes attend. The athletes at the top of the conference and national qualifying level attend this meet in Stanford, Calif. on April 1st and 2nd.

Another big invite is the Arlt Invite on April 22nd, which is the Wildcats’ largest home Track and Field meet held annually.

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Track gears up for indoor season