With rainy days behind them, the Long Beach State track and field team looks forward to the USC Trojan Invitational and Baldy Castillo Invitational Friday and Saturday, to get its first taste of optimal outdoor conditions.
The beginning of the year has not been kind to the track and field training schedule, as it has had to constantly be modified because of the weather conditions this past month.
The team will be splitting its athletes between the two events this weekend in different states for its first real opportunity to perform.
The 49ers will send their sprinter and jump squads to the Baldy Castillo Invitational in Tempe, Arizona, and their throwers and distance runners will compete in the USC Trojan Invitational in Los Angeles.
“This is one of the only competitions of the year where we split our teams,” head coach Andy Sythe said.“We’re looking for the right competition and the right environment for certain groups to perform in, and we have a great opportunity with these two meets.”
The meets appeared on the 49ers’ schedule last year, but unlike previous years, the team will take a different approach to their competition schedule.
“We’re trying a new format with our competition this year, and we’re trying to compete every other week in the month of March so we can still get a lot of base training in and get them even stronger for the post season which comes up in early May,” Sythe said.
The 49ers are coming off their first outdoor event, the Beach Invitational, which showed off a lot of solid performances despite the rain.
Senior high jumper Vincent Calhoun jumped 7-03m, which is the No.1 mark in the nation and second all time in LBSU history. Senior high jumper Bria Palmer cleared 5-09m in the event. Another No. 1 mark in the country was claimed by senior thrower Nicholas Hudson, who earned a mark of 62.59m in the hammer throw.
“We’ve already done what we ended with last year, so if we’re doing that in those type of conditions, this weekend should be great,” Palmer said.
Sythe echoed the excitement and said he is looking forward to seeing what his team will be able to do in better conditions. He said he is especially optimistic about the hurdlers event in Arizona, along with what kind of showing senior sprinter Courtne’ Davis will have.
“We get excited because we know something is gonna happen,” Sythe said. “We don’t know where that breakthrough is gonna come, but these two competitions lend themselves to a heightened sense of readiness and performance.”
The team hopes that the stagnant training schedules won’t have an effect on its upcoming event and that it will be on the right track to have everyone healthy.
Sythe specifically mentioned senior All-American sprinter and long jumper Kemonie Briggs as someone who he hopes will be able to jump and run on the relay team this weekend.
Even if the conditions are perfect and the roster is healthy, the team knows that it will face a high level of competition and will have to come with its best game.