Track and field splits up for weekend

By Rhema Rhea

Track and field will split again as it competes in two meets over the weekend.

This is the second time in the last month track and field has split for two meets. Like last time, the distance runners will travel to a colder weather place as they head to the Chicagoland Championships, and the throwers, sprinters and jumpers will compete at the UTEP Invitational.

Due to the warmer weather, the Huskies have been able to utilize the Soccer and Track & Field Complex for the first time this season.

“This is our second week of practice outside since coming back from Texas and [the] Raleigh Relays,” said head coach Connie Teaberry. “Being outside is a totally different beast. You get the athletes prepared for the elements. We’re actually able to work the things that we need to work that we couldn’t do indoors, so we should see some sharpening of the ladies’ techniques throughout the rest of the outdoor season.”

During the weekend’s EIU Big Blue Classic, NIU added its fourth automatic qualifier to the MAC Outdoor Championships list when junior Meghan Heuer ran a 2:11.21 in the 800 meters. Teaberry liked how Heuer performed, and the distance group as a whole has shown more promise at this point of the season than in previous years.

“The distance ladies have really come on during the track and field season starting with indoors, and they are just progressively hammering away at it outdoors,” Teaberry said. “Meghan’s auto qualifier was huge; Ali [Olson] also had a really strong race. I think with those ladies, as we continue to get closer and closer to MAC, their confidence continues to increase, and that’s one of the things we had been missing in the past years.

“So, I’d have to say coach [Greg] Hipp has really gotten the girls mentally and physically strong, and they are ready to go now.”

The Huskies have only been able to practice for a short while outdoors, but Teaberry said this can have an impact on how athletes perform this weekend.

“My biggest thing now is that the confidence should be increasing,” Teaberry said. “I know we’ve only had two weeks of outdoor practice, but our performances should be lowering or the throws should be getting better just from practice and technique alone.

“We are really excited about getting a chance to head back to Texas to get to some warm weather, and the ladies that are actually traveling … should see some improvements in their marks.”