Unusual weather circumstances and a slick running surface were not enough to slow the men’s track and field team down as the Blue and Gold fought through the wind and rain to win their sixth consecutive Empire 8 Outdoor Track and Field Championship this past Saturday.
Despite temperatures in the low 40s, the South Hill squad dominated its competition at Butterfield Stadium. The Bombers’ final tally was 230 points, 104 points more than the total for second-place Stevens Institute of Technology.
Freshman Kevin Davis ran in the 100- and 200-meter dash and said the cold weather was a difficult challenge to hurdle through.
“It was tough to get warm and stay warm.” Davis said. “You’re not used to going through a heavy warm-up this late in the season, so it made it tough to run at your best. I warmed up with a lot more sprints and just tried to stay loose in that weather.” .
Senior co-captain Dan Craighead said the colder weather served a different purpose. He said the temperatures allow a long-distance runner to stay cool and concentrate more on running instead of becoming exhausted from the heat.
Craighead was one of five Bombers to qualify for the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships, after winning the 5,000-meter run with a time of 15:14.41.
Though the cold, rainy weather isn’t normally ideal for sprinters, the Blue and Gold’s 4×100-meter relay squad was able to win its event and qualify for the ECACs with a time of 43.25. Sophomore Brennan Edmonds was part of the 4×100 relay team and said the cold weather affected the runners’ ability to get out of the blocks.
“Getting a good start was the toughest part of dealing with the weather.” he said. “It changed the way you ran in the sense that you’re not competing against yourself, you’re competing to win the race and just beat out the opposing runners.”
After capturing its eighth outdoor conference championship in the past nine years, the South Hill squad has nearly a month of competitions before the ECAC Championships May 17-18 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. Craighead said these upcoming meets will be crucial in building enough depth to capture the ECAC team championship.
Edmonds said the time between ECACs will be a good period for the younger runners to rest and mentally prepare for the stretch run of their first collegiate outdoor season. As for preparation in practice, Davis said the Blue and Gold will be tapering off the intensity of their conditioning by decreasing their time in the weight room.
Edmonds said the New York State Collegiate Track Championship on May 4-5 in Rochester, N.Y., is the biggest meet for the squad between now and the ECACs.
“RPI will probably be our toughest competition,” Edmonds said. “They won the indoor championships this year as well as the outdoor last year, but we have what it takes to win the state championship this season.”