Track & Field team gearing up for indoor competition

Track & Field team gearing up for indoor competition

Track & Field team gearing up for indoor competition
January 28
01:24 2016

Reece Waddell | Senior Staff Writer

@ReeceTapout15

The North Texas track and field team traveled to College Station to compete in the Texas A&M Invitational on Friday, Jan. 15. The women placed fourth out of 14 teams and the men finished fifth. It was the team’s first meet of the season.

Overall, the Mean Green had six top-three finishes and two outright victories in the women’s mile and men’s 3,000m.

Last weekend, the team improved upon its first performance of the year, as the men and women both placed third at the Kansas State Indoor Invite. The Mean Green had 24 top-five finishes, eight second-place finishes and one win in the 200 meters.

Business sophomore TeVaun Scallion (left) and kinesiology senior Caleb Pryor (right) work on sprints during practice. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

Business sophomore TeVaun Scallion, left, and kinesiology senior Caleb Pryor, right, work on sprints during practice. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

“I was pleased with our showing,” head coach Carl Sheffield said regarding the team’s performance at Texas A&M. “We always have expectations on how we think we will do based on how we train. We competed really hard, and I think people felt good about their accomplishments individually.”

During the fall and winter months, the team prepares for the Conference USA Indoor Championships, which begin Feb. 24 in Birmingham, Alabama. Once the indoor season concludes, the team will transition to outdoor in March.

The events are the same for indoor and outdoor, but the track varies at every location. These differences can range from the type of surface the track is made of to the angle of the turns – all of which affect how an athlete trains.

“It’s just such a different animal,” Sheffield said. “Last week is bank. This week is flat. Next week the radius of the turns will be different. So every week we’re adjusting our race pattern to accommodate the facility.”

With 23 seniors on the team, this is the largest it’s been since Sheffield took over as head coach in 2011. It’s also a strength the team is using to its advantage in competitions.

“Right off the bat that was the biggest, most blaring thing we were lacking,” Sheffield said. “They have really grown and matured, and they’ve been the focal point. They are really pulling our freshman and sophomores along. They’ve been here and know how competitive it is.”

One of those seniors is graduate student Nadiyah El-Amin, whose 25.12 second time in the women’s 200m was good enough for fourth place in Conference USA at the Texas A&M meet.

Along with El-Amin, the team also boasts senior high jumper Eddie Wilcox, who cleared 2.10 meters at the Kansas State Invite. The jump was second best among collegiate participants.

Wilcox said the biggest hurdle he has to overcome during preparation is himself. High jumping is not an event in which athletes directly compete against each other, but participants try to clear a bar set at a certain height.

Sprinter and graduate student Nadiyah El-Amin rounds a corner duirng a practice. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

Sprinter and graduate student Nadiyah El-Amin rounds a corner duirng a practice. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

“High jump is a mental and physical game,” Wilcox said. “When you see a high bar, you have to see yourself getting over it. You have to mentally prepare. The rest is just physically being able to.”

Along with senior leadership, the team also prides itself on the ability for cross-country runners to help on the track. On the recruiting trail, Sheffield said a crossover between track and cross-country competitions is not uncommon.

“So we have to find kids who can develop into good cross-country runners,” Sheffield said. “We want to have a great track team. And now we want to have a great cross-country team.”

For the first time in Sheffield’s tenure as head coach, the Mean Green track team has a plethora of senior leadership who impart knowledge in key situations. Wilcox and El-Amin combine for over eight years of collegiate track experience and lay a foundation for not only competitions, but for years ahead.

“Our seniors provide that strong backbone for the team,” El-Amin said. “We provide encouragement. And some of the younger people, they have everything, but they don’t know how to be a part of the UNT team. [The seniors] provide them with direction.”

Featured Image: High jumper and senior Eddie Wilcox lands in the sand pit while working on triple jumps at practice. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

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