The men’s track and field team will travel to Durham, N.C., for the Duke Invite. The runners are excited and ready to build on the success of the Raleigh Relays, which took place March 24-25.
One of the big concerns at the Duke Invite is the weather. At Raleigh, the runners faced high winds and pouring rain.
Considering that the Duke Invite comes at the midway point of the season, Head Coach Mike Ward said the team feels the meet should serve as a stepping stone to help them prepare for higher levels of competition.
“We’re two weeks out of the ACC Championships, so it is significant in that regard,” Ward said.
Sophomore Casey McGinn is looking to improve on his efforts in Raleigh, where he placed second in the pole vault.
“It was definitely a confidence booster,” said McGinn, who will be competing in the pole vault and the 100-meter sprint.
Perhaps the highest expectations during the Duke Invite will be placed on All-ACC sophomore Tim Harris, who is coming off of a first place effort in Raleigh for the 800-meter.
“If I do everything I have to do, I should come out with a good time,” Harris said.
Improvement is a major factor in the psyche of this team, and Ward said that it is the driving factor for him as a coach.
“You’ve got to have kids that continue to work hard,” Ward said. “You hang your hat on the improvement of your guys.”
McGinn said he feels the same and expects improvement from the entire program.
“We should start doing better,” McGinn said. “I’m looking for a big showing, as is the rest of the team.”
McGinn said his expectations are higher at this point in the year.
“I think it’s very realistic for me to qualify for the regional meet.” McGinn said. “I’m going to have to jump very well, which I know I’m definitely capable of.”
Because of the progress Harris has made this season, he too continues to set high goals for himself.
“I feel like I can win the ACC Championship,” Harris said. “The future looks bright right now for me.”
Since the current men’s track and field team in comprised of predominantly sophomores and freshmen, improvement is foreseeable for not only the remainder of the season, but in years to come.
Harris said that the team always talks about getting better, especially considering that they have a lot of quality freshmen.
McGinn said team unity plays an important role in the growth of the individuals.
“It’s pleasant to be around these guys,” McGinn said. “When they’re doing better, it provides a good pressure, because you want to do well when they do.”
Joel Brown can be contacted at email@example.com.