Runners gear up for 2013 indoor season
Published: Thursday, January 24, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 24, 2013 14:01
The Utah State men’s and women’s track and field teams are preparing for their last season in the WAC. Last year, the women’s track and field teams won both the indoor and outdoor WAC championships. After losing several key athletes, both teams will be looking to some new faces on the team to step up and help win a WAC championship.
“We have definitely lost a lot of seniors that scored big last year,” said junior runner Kylie Hirschi. “But we also do have a lot of really good freshman, so I could see us doing pretty well because of our freshman class. There’s a lot of really strong athletes on the both the guys and girls sides.”
Track and field head coach Gregg Gensel said he was pleased with how some of the newcomers performed at the team’s first meet last week in New Mexico.
“Across the board, our young people have been pretty good right out the blocks,” Gensel said.
“They are freshman, so it remains to be seen if they can keep doing that. Like I said, it’s the first meet, so the thing I look for is for people to have great performances and be consistent in those performances. I can’t say that they have or haven’t done that because we’ve only had one meet.”
One of the new athletes who performed well last week was Briton Page. Page was a member of the USU track and field team during the 2009-2010 season and just returned to the team this year. Page won the men’s 800m with a time of 1:51.69. He is now ranked ninth nationally.
“That was actually my first meet in a couple of years,” Page said. “I hadn’t run for almost three years. I was really nervous and just went out really fast and actually beat my best time by almost two seconds. I ran the fastest time in the WAC so far and my best time ever.”
Page said he wants to do even better.
“I’m hoping to break the 1:50, which is a huge mark for me, something that I didn’t think I’d be able to do this year, but I surprised myself with last week’s time,” Page said. “Hopefully, maybe by outdoor, I can go to the NCAA championship. They only take the top couple in the nation.”
Gensel said he won’t make any predictions, but he thinks the team will be competitive this year.
“We have a lot of great athletes,” he said. “On any given day, one of them or a lot of them step up. Last weekend was a good example. We had a lot of great performances. It’s still really early. Some people that I may not have expected to step it up did, and some that I thought would didn’t. So, that’s how a team goes. You hope that everybody has their best day when it counts, and when it counts is at the conference championships and beyond. And that’s what we’re aiming for.”