The outdoor track and field team comes fresh off an indoor track season where the 4×400-meter men’s relay school record was shattered, beating both the outdoor and indoor time.
“Everyone on that relay team from indoor is going to the [Mt. Sac Relays] in California, which is a great opportunity for us to break the record there,” junior sprinter and hurdler Dan DeBlieck said.
While the indoor track season and even indoor practices during the spring are needed in Vermont’s frigid climate, the outdoor season brings new elements to track.
“We have javelins with tennis ball tips on them indoors, but outside we can have the real javelins fly live, and the hammer throw,” assistant coach Emmaline Berg said.
Berg is starting her first outdoor season coaching at UVM after being a volunteer coach the past two-and-a-half years with Dartmouth College, according to UVM athletics.
“The transition with a new coach can sometimes be challenging, but winter went really well,” Berg said. “I’m seeing improvements in the whole team, particularly with the women pole vaulters who are doing an amazing job exceeding everyone’s expectations.”
Junior thrower Morgan Ferland placed second in the discus throw at the 2017 Dartmouth Invitational, and has high hopes for this year.
“I’ve set personal records by inches every year since high school,” she said. “I want a big improvement this season and expect it with the change in the lifting program.”
The time period between the winter and spring seasons requires a careful balance between rest and training as athletes prepare for a fresh start.
“We had a strong finish to indoor with everyone on the rise. It’s not a large time between that post and preseason, but it’s definitely a kicked-up competitive atmosphere,” Deblieck said.
The team has many different goals for outdoor track, but Berg says not every achievement is measured in time or distance.
“I would like them all to improve upon their conference performance from last year, with place and distance of course, but also with confidence going in and reducing some race anxiety,” Berg said.
Outdoor track will have six regular season meets this year, with a potential four more coming in the postseason.