Favorable conditions give DSU 1st meet of year, head start on rest of the seasonLace ’em up Blue Hawks. It’s time to compete. The Dickinson State track and field team is scheduled to host its first meet of the season at noon Saturday at the Badlands Activities Center.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
Lace ’em up Blue Hawks. It’s time to compete.
The Dickinson State track and field team is scheduled to host its first meet of the season at noon Saturday at the Badlands Activities Center.
Blue Hawks head coach Pete Stanton said it’s the earliest the team has gotten outdoors in several years and he has already seen signs of how the mild spring weather is helping the team develop.
“If you’re going to be successful, you have to train in any weather,” Stanton said. “It helps and you can talk about it all day, but when it’s 70 and there’s not much weather and things are looking bright, people’s spirits are raised by that training.”
DSU senior Trevor Willis, who earned NAIA All-America honors in the indoor heptathlon this winter, said he has never felt the benefit of practicing outdoors this early because he has never been a part of a team that has been outdoors since the beginning of March.
Typically in southwest North Dakota, there is still snow on the ground at this time of year and, at best, the Blue Hawks are putting in road miles or doing minor workouts on the track. Often, they would be inside on treadmills.
“Practicing (outside) in March is an accomplishment in itself,” Willis said with a laugh.
Willis plans to compete in five or six events Saturday as he begins trying to qualify for the NAIA national championships in the decathlon.
He said being outdoors at this time of the season can only help his training.
“You don’t have to stretch your body as much toward the end,” Willis said. “Everybody is in better shape than they’ve been in the past. Coming out here, being able to get on the track is nice as opposed to being inside and running on treadmills.”
Being able to go so early in the season allows other Blue Hawks, like senior jumper Jennifer Hartman, a chance to actually compete.
“This is a really nice chance,” Hartman said. “I know everybody just wants to get out and try their best in this first meet, because we may not get weather like this again.”
Hartman, a national qualifier in the long jump, is one of several DSU athletes who either sat out the indoor season for various reasons. Some ran out of eligibility or redshirted, others don’t compete in the indoor because their primary events are not included.
The start of the outdoor season adds several jumpers, throwers, distance events and relays to DSU’s repertoire.
“We have some events that play into our hands that make us a better outdoor team,” Stanton said.
DSU is scheduled to host three meets this season, the Blue Hawk Games on April 20 and the DSU Invitational on May 10. The latter will be used as this season’s replacement for the Dakota Athletic Conference meet.
“Our athletes are very excited about being able to compete three times on our track this year,” Stanton said. “It sure makes for a good work week and it makes for a good weekend for them too.”