With the Mondschein Multi close ahead, the outdoor track and field team is trying to keep the momentum from the winter season as they move into spring.
The team has worked hard in preparation for success this season. Freshman Dimeon Wright is returning this spring with a trip to the Nationals under his belt, and is hoping for a repeat performance this season. Wright is coming off a trip to the NCAA Indoor Championships after placing second in the MAC Championships. The Mustangs as a whole came away with their first-ever MAC Championship on the men’s side and finished second in the championships.
An athlete as talented as Wright is always exciting to watch, but it’s the preparation and behind-the-scenes work that fans never see. An athlete with a lot of potential like Wright can be challenging. According to Coach Erick Camodeca, “We as coaches see and know what an athlete can do, but it means nothing if the athletes do not see it in themselves or want to be as great as we see them.”
There is also great joy in coaching an extremely talented athlete. Seeing improvement in any athlete is the reason people like Camodeca coach, he explained.
The Stevenson track team has found success coaching athletes in their jumps, because of the background the coaching staff has. Coaches must be able to understand the event, teach athletes how to run faster on the track, know when to jump, how to land, and most importantly, not overthink it, said Camodeca.
The coach hopes to have students qualify for Nationals once again. There’s a method, he said: “First time at the National Meet is for the experience, the second time All American, and third time, National Champion,” he explained.
Getting a chance to go to a national meet is an honor in itself, but it also helps athletes understand how difficult it is to get that far. To be considered for a national meet, members of any team have to either be in the top 15 (indoor) or top 20 (outdoor) in that individual event.
At the Hopkins/Loyola Invitational meet on April 6, the men’s team finished second, competing against and finishing ahead of several Division I teams. Wright finished second among non Division I athletes in the long jump with a jump of 6.54m, good enough to qualify for ECAC competition. Junior Kendall Besler had a time of 50.11 seconds in the 400 meter dash. Besler’s time was good enough to land him second overall and made him the top finisher among DIII runners. Besler was subsequently honored with MAC Track Athlete of the Week. Sophomore Iddriss Iddriss finished third in the 800m and qualified for ECACs with a time of 1:57:14. Freshman Celment Onyebadi placed first in the high jump with a ECAC-qualifying leap of 1.85m. The Mustangs also placed second overall in the 4×100 and 4×400 relays.
On the women’s side, the team finished seventh out of 15th at the Hopkins/Loyola Invitational meet. Freshman Allison Krahe set a school record in the 800m with a time 2:21:35. Krahe’s time was good enough for fifth and qualified her for the ECAC Outdoor Championships. Freshman Rachel Panek finished first in the 400m hurdles with a time of 1:05:25. Her time was the second-best in the MAC. Sophomore Kimberly Hammond placed first among DIII athletes in the long jump with a span of 5.29m.
The men’s and women’s teams are both scheduled to compete in the Mondschein Multi on April 12.
Sports editor Dave Steinwedel contributed to the article.