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Track team starts strong out of the gate

Sports Reporter

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The men’s and women’s track Teams are gearing up for the Spring season once again coming out of winter Break.

While most Division I track teams do not hold practice over winter Break, coaches still give their players workouts to follow while they are away from school.

Coach John Wise said practicing in winter conditions can be difficult for some athletes who do not have access to an indoor gym and track when they are away from campus.

“A coach always worries about their kids running in the cold and snow, but I’d say our kids were pretty disciplined and did a pretty good job over the break,” Wise said. “We do try to keep in touch with them on a weekly basis.”

After approximately three weeks away from organized practices, the men and women competed at the University of Kansas two weeks ago and, last weekend, competed against KU and Kansas State University (KSU) in a triangular tournament last weekend.  Both teams from WSU came in second behind KSU, the mens team only falling short by one point.

“Both [KU and KSU] are really good schools,” Wise said. “Our kids stepped up and were very competitive against those schools.”

But even after attending two meets in a row before the semester started, the team is staying busy preparing for their upcoming meet in Lincoln, Neb. this Saturday and then to Northern Iowa the following weekend. Wise considers the latter a pre-Missouri Valley Conference meet, since schools such as Drake will be in attendance.

“We have some good meets coming up and this is the best we’ve looked this early in the season for a long time,” Wise said. “Our men this year ranked 13th in the nation and our women ranked 16th in the nation: we’re looking pretty good just coming out of the gate.”

Wise said the main focus for both teams will be the Missouri Valley Conference championship, which is a mere five weeks away. He said both teams winning the championship is something that has only happened once in his nine years of coaching at WSU, though it is a goal they always strive for.

“Winning those [MVC] championships is definitely well earned,” Wise said. “The Southern Illinois womens’ team and Indiana State’s men are probably our biggest opponents. Those will be the schools to beat, but they all have really good track teams.”

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