With two meets already in the books, the 2018 men’s and women’s track and field teams are looking to build upon the improvements of last year.
“So far we’ve had a nice start to the season,” Hannah Weiss, head track and field coach, said. “We’ve had some good national-level performances, as well as [personal records] from every event area. I know that we are young and a little bit on the smaller side, but we are showing a lot of promise.”
The teams lost 14 seniors from last year’s roster in total, and promise out of the young core is all that you can ask for when attempting to replace such a large number of athletes. While personal expectations may be high for these first-year athletes, there is a realization of just how competitive athletics get when jumping from the high school level to the collegiate level.
“It’s always an adjustment for first-years,” Weiss said. “More and more, you hear them saying how they want to achieve all of their goals the very first meet. But the real goal of freshman year is to not only transition well academically, socially, and athletically, but also to make sure you’re learning to do things the right way, setting yourself up for success for all four years, not just this year.”
A key component of all successful teams is integrating the first-years and helping them through this adjustment period, and this is evident in teams that have an abundance of leadership. With nine first-years and eleven sophomores, guidance from the upperclassmen is could not be more valuable for the 2018 team.
“The leadership amongst this team has been something that’s been really fun to see,” Weiss said. “There’s been a lot more student-athlete-led presence on the team. It’s nice to see that we don’t have to force the athletes to be together; they do it on their own.”
That overall team comradery is visible among this year’s team, and it’s displayed in many different areas: through the athletes supporting one another during their events, through the athletes spending time together outside of practice and through an overall culture of competitive fun that Weiss has been able to establish over her three years here.
Perhaps the best example of leadership that this team has to follow and model themselves after is senior Logan Allison.
Allison, the Ohio Athletic Conference’s 2017 indoor and outdoor Field Athlete of the Year, has about as many awards and honors as you could imagine, but you’d never be able to tell. Whether it’s through his quiet demeanor, humble attitude or unmatched work ethic, Allison has helped shape the culture of this team by setting the standards and expectations for all of his teammates to follow.
“Logan is an awesome athlete to work with.” Weiss said. “His work ethic is through the roof. People think he’s good because he’s just good, but that’s not the case. He’s good because he works his butt off. He’s done this consistently over the course of four years.”
Finding athletes like Allison can be somewhat rare.
“It’s great to be able to find self-motivated athletes because it’s easy to find talented athletes, but its difficult to find the ones who are willing to do everything that they need to do,” Weiss said. “And to have someone like him to lead by example for our team is awesome. And for as good as he is, we also pick on him a ton, so having someone who can take a joke and take some punches with it, that makes it even better.”
While watching Allison compete and earn honor after honor is exciting for Weiss, she is most excited for something else this season, and that is the Outdoor Conference.
“It’s really the pinnacle for us as a team.” Weiss said. “This is our last big stand as a team, and it’s where we focus our training for more than anything else.”