It is time for track season for the Indiana State Sycamores. The Sycamores open up their season this Saturday for a home meet before heading off for winter break. The sprinters, hurdlers, jumpers and throwers have all been hard at work since August, while the distance squad has been in season with cross country. They all come together as Sycamores on Saturday as one team united in a pursuit of a conference championship in the Missouri Valley Conference. 

ISU Head Track and Field Coach Angela Martin spoke to team’s mindset in practice and how that translates over to success in meets, 

“Practice is supposed to be harder than the meets. So, when you get in the meets and you want to give up on yourself, but you didn’t in practice, then you have to be fired up to go and be focused and know that you can do it. If you don’t give up in practice, then hopefully that will trickle through the season.” 

The layout of the indoor season for the Sycamores goes as follows. After their home meet this weekend, the team does not compete until Jan. 17, when they compete in the Coughlan/Malloy Cup at Illinois State University. On Jan. 25, ISU hosts the John Gartland Invitational at home. 

On Jan. 31, the team travels to the IU Relays at Indiana University. On Feb. 7, the team travels to Notre Dame to compete in the Meyo Invitational. On Feb. 14, it’s back to Indiana University for the Hoosier Hills meet. On Feb. 21, some of the team will compete in the EIU Friday Night Challenge, while the rest will travel to Notre Dame for the Alex Wilson Invitational. 

Then the following weekend is the big meet for the indoor season as Feb. 29 through March 1 is the MVC Indoor Championships at Northern Iowa. If there are qualifiers, on March 13, competitors will travel to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to compete in the NCAA Indoor Championships. 

Then it is right into outdoor season, in which the MVC Outdoor Championships are held from May 15-17 in Des Moines, Iowa at Drake University. 

Some key names to watch out for on the men’s side include sprinter JaVaughn Moore, who was named the Indoor MVC Freshman of the Year last season. Moore took second in the 60-meter final at the indoor championships last season.  

Junior sprinter Jarel Shaw finished second in the 100-meters in the outdoor championship last season. 

Sophomore hurdler Matthew Lewis-Banks took second in the 100-meter hurdle final at the outdoor meet and second in the 60-meter hurdles at the indoor championships in his freshman season. Junior jumper Dearis Herron placed third in the indoor championships in the long jump. 

Martin went on to talk about the goals for the men’s team, which took third place indoors and outdoors last season behind Illinois State and Northern Iowa in both meets. 

“Our guys were two points away from being second in the conference last year and they just couldn’t get the job done, so we’ve been talking about that. What does this mean to you and what does all of this work mean to you? We’ve been trying to press upon them that they are this close to being pretty darn good and you have to keep focused on that.” 

She then spoke for the expectations for the women’s team, which took third outdoors behind Illinois State and Southern Illinois, and placed second only to Illinois State in the indoor meet.

“On the women’s side, we lost some great seniors last year,” Martin said. “Now it’s the women’s turn to be young, but we have a great freshman recruiting class so I am excited to see what we’re going to do and what is going to happen next.” 

For the women some key names include redshirt junior Jezel Martin, who comes back after placing third in the 400-meter finals at the outdoor championships. Also, junior distance runner Jocelyn Quiles placed second in the mile at the indoor championships.

This Saturday, the Sycamore track team opens up the season in the ISU Early Bird at the Indoor Track & Field here on campus in the Arena. The meet begins at noon and will last until around 5 p.m. Come support the Sycamores before you head off for winter break and catch an early preview for the 2020 indoor track season!