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Track & field: Outdoor team opens season this weekend
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Track and Field: Outdoor team opens season this weekend

MELISSA KANIA
Associate Sports Editor

Just over two weeks after their indoor season ended, track and field athletes are preparing for their outdoor season, which begins Saturday in North Carolina.

The team and individual athletes have set goals that they hope to accomplish this season.

“Our goal is to always do well in our conference, in terms of trying to win the conference championship,” coach Eugene Lewis said.

Lewis said that the first immediate goal as a team is to win, and to perform at a level that will allow the athletes to compete in NCAA track and field meets.

The individual goals for each athlete are to compete at the highest level, which is nationals, Lewis said.

Ray Peoples, a junior sprinter, said his personal goal is to make it to nationals in the 200-meter dash.

“Hopefully, if I get to nationals, to actually win something,” Peoples said.

Jeff Swayze, a freshman thrower, said he hopes to get better at several events this season, including throwing 50 feet in the shot put competition and getting used to the distance contests. Swayze also said he hopes the team does well overall in the conference.

The team is preparing for the first two meets of the outdoor season. The student-athletes will compete against North Carolina State University in Raleigh on Saturday at 9 a.m. before traveling to Durham, NC to face Duke University on April 3, a day after spring break ends.

“Some of the kids are getting ready to go to spring break, but I’m still going to be training,” Peoples said.

Peoples said he plans to do several runs in Rochester over the weeklong vacation.

“I still want to get quality meets in so I can stay on my toes,” Peoples said.

Swayze said that he is looking forward to traveling to North Carolina for the upcoming meets.

“North Carolina is going to be a fun meet and a fun experience as a team,” Swayze said. “The indoor season was pretty good. I’m hopeful that we’ll do well in outdoor SUNYACS.”

Peoples said he is looking forward to the outdoor season, as he prefers running outdoors, and Coach Lewis said he is hoping to catch some good weather this season.

“We’ve got the opportunity to compete against very good athletes,” Lewis said.

There are 14 returning student-athletes competing for the women’s team, as well as seven freshmen. On the men’s team, 16 freshmen will compete along with 17 returning athletes.

“Being a freshman, the implements get bigger than they were in high school,” Swayze said.

In their last meet of the indoor season, some of the athletes competed at Virgin Tech in the Division I Virginia Tech Final Qualifier. Jessica Walker bettered her school record in the triple jump.

Neshay Maxwell, Erica Johnson and Walker earned NCAA provisional qualifying marks. The men’s 4x400-meter relay team finished third place in the contest.

SUNYAC championships in spring will be held May 6-8. Although it’s still over a month away, both Peoples and Swayze have the competitions in their minds, and hope to place well, both individually and as a team.

Five meets will be held before SUNYACs, which will be immediately followed by the ECAC championships. A last meet against Allegheny College in Meadville, PA will then be held before NCAA championships the last weekend in May.

“It’s a season that will definitely be as exciting as the indoor season,” Lewis said.

• Melissa Kania can be reached by e-mail at kania.record@live.com.

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