RICHMOND, Va. – The VCU Men's and Women's Track and Field programs have already gotten out of the blocks in 2011 and competed in a handful of meets. This weekend presents one of the first big hurdles of the spring track season: indoor championships.
It isn't just another weekend meet for the teams, but a spot on the calendar that the programs have been working for.
"For the past three weeks, we have been preparing to run fast at these championships. In preparation, we look really good, and everyone seems to be 100% (in health)," Head Coach Jon Riley noted. "I look forward to seeing some really fast races and really good jumps this weekend. I feel really good about our preparation."
One fresh face joining the VCU veterans is Niaimani Aduma. The freshman from Hampton, Va. is competing both in the long jump and as a member of the 4x400 meter relay team.
"She's qualified in the long jump, which I am really excited about because she's been doing so well at an event that she's adapted to. She got to where she is through hard work, and you always appreciate that part," gleamed Coach Riley.
The men's program will send nine representatives to compete. Leading the charge for the Black & Gold is senior Antonio Norvell. The Portsmouth native is competing in the long jump, 200 meters and as a member of the 4x400 meter relay team.
"We definitely want a well-rounded program. I think if our top throwers weren't hurt from freak accidents, we'd have each type of event represented with throws, jumps, sprints, middle distance, distance and relays. We have a really good combination of track and field athletes at each event. That's important to me because I want a well-rounded program."
At weekend's end the VCU Rams will begin to reflect on the successes of the indoor championship experience. However, it's not the end result their coach wants them to think about, but rather what got them to the qualification stage.
"I like my athletes to not think about the end result, so I never give them a goal to make as far as how fast they have to run. I want them to execute what we have been training the entire year. If they take care of the process, then the results will be what they expect," Riley said. "We never go into a meet thinking about how fast we can run. We go into a meet thinking about completing the process that we've trained to do."
If the blueprint of the process is followed than VCU will see more than good showings on indoor championship weekend. They should be able to see personal bests and some victories as well.