Track and field fired up for Championships

The track and field teams are looking to show up to the ACC Outdoor Championships this weekend at full speed and ahead of the competition.

While Miami’s men’s and women’s teams may differ in terms of overall success this season, head coaches Mike Ward and Amy Deem seem to share a common mantra: Be prepared, have confidence and compete hard.

Women’s track and field is in the midst of a successful outdoor season, as the team was ranked eighth nationally in the latest Trackwire 25 rankings released on Tuesday. Only a day earlier, senior Kim Barrett was named the ACC Track and Field Co-performer of the Week for the second time this season. The team has had a record 21 NCAA regional qualifying marks in 10 individual events this season, with both the 4×100 and 4×400-meter relays qualifying for NCAA Regional competition.

Deem is feeling pretty good about her team heading into the conference championships in Tallahassee.

“I feel real confident about them. We had a strong showing this weekend at home, and we’re starting to come together,” Deem said. “The girls always step up for conference championships and every indication is that they’ll do the same this weekend.”

For both teams, there is no underestimating the importance of the championships. However, the men’s team in particular is looking forward to the meet with anticipation. Ward said that, beyond where the team is now, “the championships are what the team looks forward to most as a goal, with the exception of Tim Harris as being a national type of runner.”

Ward made specific references to the 100 and 800-meter races, as well as the 4×100 meter relay and the pole vault as potential events for the ‘Canes to score big.

The women’s team is eagerly looking forward to the meet.

“The conference championships and the national championships are the two most important things we do,” Deem said.

Both coaches are highly impressed with the level of the competition in the ACC this year. Ward described the ACC as a very good conference and relative to the Big East; it’s a tougher, more well-rounded league.

“In the Big East, we used to be a pretty good team on sprints, but now in the ACC, there are quite a number of teams that are very good,” he said.

Deem mentioned Georgia Tech as a potentially tough opponent this weekend, and that the team “can’t just take things for granted, it must have respect for the competition.”

That said, the ‘Canes are going into Tallahassee aware of what needs to be done.

“We’ve done all the physical preparation, now it’s just time to prepare mentally for the challenge ahead, and go after it,” Ward said.

Michael Soto can be contacted at