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Track teams ready to kick off season

By Jon McDaniel
On February 9, 2011

The Texas A&M University-Commerce men and women's track and field season starts with the Texas A&M University-Commerce Dual Invitational Meet on Saturday, Feb. 19 in Commerce.

The first two meets of the season will take place in Commerce. The second meet will be on Saturday, Feb. 26 against the University of Texas at Tyler and Southwestern Christian University.

"I believe that the first two meets are a good warm up for the team, so that the majority of our freshman team isn't too psyched out once they are confronted with a college meet," Senior Kate Donovan said. "It also gives a chance for the returning runners to get the kinks out and feel more prepared for the rest of the season. It's going to be a great season with great people, great athletes, great coaches, and a great time to become a force to be reckoned with."

Track and field is a longer season compared to the runners competing in cross country during the fall. Track and field lasts from February until May and ends with the Lone Star Conference Championships in Stephenville, Texas, on May 5-8 and the Division II National NCAA Championships in Turlock, CA from May 26-28.

"In my opinion the biggest difference between cross country and track and field is the rat race part," Donovan said. "You always seem to going nowhere fast. There are also more people on the track team so there are more opportunities to have fun and enjoy your season."

Junior Carolyn Bell says the team has been working hard preparing for the season.

"Well, the last week, we were inside on the treadmills, elliptical, and bikes," Bell said. "But other than that, we've been training at high mileage for track season. The first race is Feb. 19 and we are just really looking to see where we are at. Distance wise, we've been getting in some good long runs such as 14-to-17 milers. On the track we've had some good speed workouts. Today I believe we are doing 400 repeats. So that should be pretty speedy."

Bell said that every team member trains a little differently than one another.

"Personally, I am focusing on the 5K this season," Bell said. "So it should be interesting to gage where I am fitness wise at our first meet. I know Kate Donovan is focusing on the steeplechase and Jennifer Speer is focusing on the 5K also. Coach said he would throw us in some other races as well like I expect to run the 10K once this year and probably the 1500-meter dash once as well. On the guy's side, there are a lot of 3K, 5K, and 10K runners and a couple 1500-meter dash/steeplers."

Sophomore Craig Shelton believes the men's team can win a championship despite having to practice in such cold weather for the last week.

"Track and field practice is hard but it will all be worth it in the end," Shelton said. "We all expect to go to nationals. That's everyone's goal on the track team. And for me, it is to also set a personal record or get my best time in my events. Lately the practices have been really cold but after warming up, you barely even notice it anymore."

Donovan said she is excited to be a part of her final season with the new runners on the team.

"For the upcoming season, we have many new faces most of which are each great athletes in themselves," Donovan said. "Through the season, I'm hopeful to see each member bring in their own expertise to help further the team. Unfortunately, this is my first and last season with Coach Schneider. I know as for the cross country team most all athletes went out with a bang which leaves me that much more excited for the upcoming track season. He is both a hands on yet stand-offish kind of coach. His techniques are definitely progressive and everyone seems to be very excited and respectful of how he runs things."

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