The Geneseo men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams look to make one final push with the SUNYAC Tournament on Friday Feb. 27 and Saturday Feb. 28 so that they can be in a good place for nationals. With nationals just a few weeks away, most athletes want to use this weekend as a time to prepare and to give it their all.
“This is one of the few times per season that we can get to focus on the team winning something as well as the individuals,” head coach Chris Popovici said. The athletes get the opportunity throughout the season to represent their school and themselves, but the results that come out of those meets during the season represent the individual more than the team. This is not the case with the SUNYACs. This is the one time during the year that athletes can bring something back for the school and people on both teams are looking forward to it.
With SUNYACs being on the forefront of everyone’s mind, the athletes’ marks from the Golden Eagle Invitational were incredibly important in setting them up to succeed in the future. School records were broken at SUNY Brockport in the women’s 4x200 meter relay ran by senior Leigha Tilton, freshman Lauren Bamford, freshman Madelyn Schwartz and junior Kylie Ryan. Many athletes posted personal bests, including senior runner Kristen Gottstine in the 60-meter dash.
Sophomore Joanna Heath also had a strong performance in Brockport. She finished second in the high jump and had a top-10 finish in the long jump. In the past, she has also competed in running events at the same meets that she has competed in jumps.
“It’s exciting to run back and forth to jump here and there and then immediately have to leave,” Heath said. “It keeps me on my toes and doesn’t let me sit around and psych myself out because I don’t have time to be nervous.” Having idle time can have a negative effect on an athlete, but one alternative—that clearly works here—is to simply not have any.
“It is hard to change your mindset between events that quickly, especially since all the things are so different,” Heath said. “But I honestly love the chaos.”
The Knights will have to take advantage of this rare opportunity to take home hardware as a team. As Popovici put it, “It’s the one time of the season where they really get to represent the school and they want to show that they are the best.”