Cabrini’s indoor track team is getting ready for it’s 2006-2007 season. With goals such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association Championship, the teams work hard to qualify at the start of the season.
Never going head to head against another team, most of the meets are big invitationals with as many as 60 colleges attending without keeping score. The athletes use the meets to work on improving their best times.
“There are so many events going on at the same time that it often looks like a three ring circus,” said head coach Tom O’Hora.
The key is for the athlete to reach a certain pre-determined time or distance to qualify for bigger meets. Being very difficult to qualify for, the Eastern College Athletic Conference and NCAA National Championship is what an athlete strives for, and Cabrini has done well in both these meets for the past two years, according to O’Hora.
“Once you make it to the Nationals, you compete for the top spots to make All American and score points for your team,” O’Hora, said. “The top person becomes the National Champion.”
“Running indoor track has always been a stepping stone for the next season. Indoor track forces you to be very active during the really cold days in the winter,” Justin Walsh, sophomore exercise science and health promotion major, said. “Instead of sitting in a dorm doing nothing, I can get some exercise and stay in good shape, at the same time preparing myself for the next season.”
This year, the teams are at a loss of some outstanding athletes. Alumna Diamond Jones, selected as Female Athlete of the Year 2006, and Danielle Dorsey were national qualifiers and big scorers for Cabrini. Michael Phan, one of the best all around athletes, has also graduated. “The team is younger and less experienced than last year’s team. There’s no senior leadership and many question marks need to be answered as the season begins,” O’Hora said. “Young teams often take a long time to develop. The goal remains for the ladies and coach James Williams to be one of the top teams in the country.”
Junior English and communication major and All American, Lauren Deas, one of the top sprinters in the country, and sophomore sociology/criminal justice major, Leslie Williams, have returned. They set several school records last year in the hurdles and sprints, and junior exercise science and health promotion major Carolyn Roberts, who was out much of last season, is healthy and will be a big help in the middle distance races.
“I feel the women’s team will do exceptionally well and I feel the men’s team will not be too far behind,” junior mathematics major Rob Devasto said. “The biggest change would be with the discipline. We want serious athletes that will stick around and put it all in the sport.” The athlete’s all agree that running indoors is a great way to stay in shape for outdoors.
Walsh is coming off very good in the cross-country seasons and hopes to do well in the distance events. Sophomore accounting major Dan Giang scored in both the hurdles and the pole vault at last year’s Mason-Dixon Championship meet.
“We have high hopes, but we’re also a very young team and have sights set for the future,” Walsh said. “Keep a close eye on sophomore Tony Gregory, who last year won the Division III national championship for the triple jump. He is looking for the same results this year.”
The hope is to have the younger athletes improve enough to make the men’s team even more competitive at both the ECAC and National NCAA level.
We are looking for the younger athletes to fill some of the holes,” O’Hora said.