Story by ALEX AGUEROS, for The Muleskinner—
Central will host the MIAA Indoor track and field MIAA Championships Friday in the Multipurpose Building.
The Mules and Jennies look to preserve their winning reputation with the Mules six conference titles in as many years, and the Jens earning six top three finishes in that span.
Co-head coach Kirk Pedersen and senior thrower Zak Thompson acknowledge Central track’s winning traditions.
“Our team has won a bunch, and we expect to win,” Pedersen said. “The pressure is on us in a good way. I think it generates our team a little bit.”
Thompson, who finished third in shot put and weight throw at last year’s conference championship, also welcomes the pressure that comes with continued success.
“There is always pressure to win for us,” Thompson said. “We are the standard for track and field in the MIAA. Each part of the team has experienced success, and we try and share what it takes and the feeling of accomplishment after walking away with a conference title.”
The MIAA Championships present a different challenge for each athlete. Pedersen said some athletes are “on the fence” of qualifying for nationals, and hope to give themselves a chance during the weekend’s meet.
For Thompson, a nationally ranked thrower, the team score comes first.
“Personally, I’m sitting in a good position going in to nationals, so this week is about what the team needs,” Thompson said. “Weight throw is an event I don’t focus much on, but I plan to score some big points to boost the team total.”
Along with throwing events, Pedersen cites other events that could boost Central’s chances of another conference title.
“We have an obvious strength in the multi-events with (Brent) Vogel and (Zoe) Sharplin,” Pedersen said. “They start the meet off and hopefully can set the tone for the rest of the team.”
Following the never-ending process of training for track and field, Thompson said he’s right where he needs to be.
“You want to perform your best in the postseason,” Thompson said. “I feel like I am where I need to be physically to perform well in the last couple weeks of the indoor season.”
Thompson said the national meet will be on his mind after this weekend.
“Once we take our victory lap with the team trophy, I’ll start gearing up for the national meet,” he said.
Multi-events will be Friday starting at 3 p.m., and continue Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Saturday’s field events start at 1:45, with running events beginning at 4 p.m.
Sunday’s field events start at 10 a.m., while the running events are at 12:15 p.m.