By: Chris Hulse
The men’s track and field team continue their indoor season as they travel to Youngstown, Ohio for the National Mid-Major Invitational.
Last weekend, the Jackets were in Geneva, Ohio for the SPIRE Midwest Open. Though this event was not scored, several Waynesburg athletes delivered impressive performances.
Senior captain Mike Trax posted the 9th best mark in the triple jump event, with a distance of 12.59 meters. Trax also competed in the long jump event and finished just outside of the top 10 (12th out of 40 competitors) with a jump of 5.97 meters.
Not wanting to be outdone by Trax was his Waynesburg teammate, Junior Dorian Hardy. Hardy, who also competed in the triple jump, finished 10th with a jump of 12.48 meters.
“There’s a friendly rivalry between us,” said Trax. “We push each other to do better at every meet.”
This competitive nature and desire to grow from week to week is not unique to Trax and Hardy among the team.
“The expectation for this team is the same every week,” Trax said. “That expectation is to improve. The Youngstown State meet will be very competitive and hopefully that pushes our team to do their best.”
Fellow Senior and team captain Michael Cappelli also emphasized the importance of developing in the winter months, so that the team is able to hit its stride when the spring sports season begins.
“The majority of our workouts and meets in the early part of the season are focused on improving technique,” Cappelli said. “It’s not that we don’t value the indoor period, but the team looks at it more as a training period so that we can peak when the outdoor season hits.”
Cappelli certainly believes that the track team is headed in the right direction, which he sees as all the more impressive considering the key piece that the Waynesburg track team has been missing all season. Michelle Cross, who took over as the Men’s Track and Field prior to the 2018 season, has been absent on maternity leave for all of this season.
“Being without your head coach is never ideal,” Cappelli said. “The team has handled it well though and the assistant coaches have been keeping us on track.”
The majority of Cross’ duties have fallen on the shoulders of Assistant Coach Bill Lubich, who was praised by his fellow coach, Luke Payson.
“Coach Lubich has done an incredible job,” Payson said. “He does so many planning and logistical things that keeps the team going. He’s done everything that Coach Cross typically does.”
Much like his athletes, Coach Payson looks at the upcoming Youngstown State meet as a prelude to the outdoor season.
“Right now is all about training in a way to perform best over the long term,” Payson said.
That said, Payson is still impressed with the group’s commitment going into the weekend.
“The meet is a two day event so that takes a huge time commitment for all the athletes,” Payson said. “Hats off to them for their hard training.”
The National Mid-Major Invitational at Youngstown State University begins on Friday, January 31.