Indoor or outdoor, track athletes push themselves

Even though competition and conference meets for track and field are just in the spring, the commitment to the sport is year round.

These student-athletes work hard, practice, travel and run year-round in order to prepare for their spring season, which involves both indoor and outdoor competition.

The Horizon League is full of some of the best competitors.

Detroit has to face Milwaukee, Youngstown and Oakland, team that are typically the biggest in-conference opponents.

“The rivalry is starting to really grow between Oakland and us due to how close they are and the amount of times we compete against them in the two seasons,” said Joe Harmon, star sophomore in the 400-meters. “We are looking to win.”

In addition to Oakland, Detroit’s own attitude and commitment level are a huge source of competition within the team.

“Our biggest competitor may be ourselves,” junior Allison Garner said. “We have to remember to push ourselves through the bad weather, soreness and hard practices in order to do well and be the best we can be. If we can get past the obstacles, I believe that our team will do great things this year.”

Athletes participate in their own event at a meet, making it hard for them to balance both the individual mental toughness needed for competition with the chemistry building needed to win as a team.

“Track is more characterized as an individual sport,” said graduate-student distance runner Louisa Coppola. “Everyone has their own event to worry about. But for us to succeed as a team, we have to all have the same mindset, work hard and support one another.”

The team used this mindset to pull through and succeed during the Winthrop dual meet held March 26-28.

The Winthrop Invitational was a chance to see whether or not everyone has stayed in shape since indoor season wrapped up on March 1 with the HL Indoor Championships, said Coppola.

She believes the team did well for its first outdoor meet of the season, but needs to keep working.

Garner was also proud of her team.

According to Garner, her Titans teammates displayed perseverance and should build upon the effort.

“Even though people may have not gotten the results they wanted, they still made the best of things and gave great effort,” Garner said.

Added Harmon: “With it being the start of the outdoor season, some adjusting was still being made and still needs to be made.”

The team made a statement to the Horizon League with its success in each of the events.

Some great performances were made by Ashley Bayles, winning the discus, and Eric Lewis, who came in third in the hammer throw.

Ben Kendell and Ryan Leahy took first and second respectively in the 500-meter dash, and Coppola won the 5000-meter run on the women’s side.

As for the Golden Grizzly Duals meet on April 11, the UDM track and field team has high expectations, and is expecting to face some tough competition.

“The Oakland dual meet is going to be difficult,” Coppola said. “Oakland has some extremely talented athletes, and is making its move in the league.”

Coppola believes if everyone brings their best effort to the meet, UDM can be victorious.

The season is just starting to heat up, and the student-athletes have high expectations.