Sports & Outdoors

Logger track is sprinting towards greatness

More than halfway into the season, the Puget Sound track and field women’s and men’s teams have been performing very well with many individuals placing in the top ten of their event.

Many Loggers have achieved not only personal bests, but also Northwest Conference Championship qualifications.

Although track and field includes many different events where individuals practice among their own groups, the team still remains a cohesive unit where they all grow and improve and make strong connections.

Senior Alicia Burns (Spokane Valley, Wash.) is a strong example of how a sport can positively influence experience at college. Burns did not initially plan on being a part of the track and field team at Puget Sound, but after speaking to the coach Mike Orechia, her freshmen year, she quickly considered it and has not regretted it since.

Burns has made many achievements during her career, and recently she made not only a personal record of running an 800m race three seconds earlier, but she also became the national leader in the 800m for Division III rankings.

“Personally I’m looking forward to see how fast I can end up running the 800m, I’m feeling really good about it this season.

And as a team, I think our women’s 4×4 relay is very excited about what we might be able to do at conference.

So far we’ve run a 4:04.06, which is the fastest our 4×4 team has run this early on. Hopefully everyone will keep improving and we can really hammer it out at conference,” Burns said.

Senior Joe Cerne (Enumclaw, Wash.) has also had a strong season so far.

Cerne participates in the decathlon—he is currently sixth out of eighth in the Northwest Conference performance list.

While Cerne has been on the team for the past four years, he was introduced to the sport only at the beginning of his college career.

“I played baseball in high school, so track is still pretty new to me.  My freshman year I had an upperclassmen on the football team (Myles McDonald) approach me and pester me about coming out for track.  I was unsure at first, but decided to try it out to please him.

It ended up being the best decision I’ve ever made, and he actually ended up becoming one of my best friends on and off the field,” Cerne said.

Both Burns and Cerne acknowledge similar weaknesses and difficulties that come along with participating in track and field.

It is more an individual hindrance rather than a team one along with many of the difficulties being caused by mental setbacks.

“Personally, I think the hardest part of any event in track is the mental side of it. It is really easy to start doubting yourself before you know how well you can perform. I personally have had struggles with that in the past, but this year I’m working on being more confident and I think that extra bit of positivity has gone a long way in how I approach and perform in my races,” Burns said.

“Staying mentally focused during and between events is by far the biggest challenge.  With the Decathlon it is 10 very different events over a two-day span.  So there is ample time to let things side-track you from your performance.  It has always been, and will continue to be a challenge to stay mentally sharp and move from event to event attempting to keep an even keel on my emotions, attitude, and performance,” Cerne said.

Running for both track and cross-country since seventh grade and high school, senior Kathryn Flyte (West, Linn, Ore.) has always loved being a part of both teams.

Flyte is in the 5K and 10K events which means her practices and preparations for meets includes longer workouts consisting of mile repeats and tempo runs.

“I improved my personal record during my last 5k before spring break. The best part was after when my distance teammates were so supportive and excited for me even though it wasn’t my best competitive effort. It’s nice that it’s such a team sport even though events are individual…I tend to improve as the distance increases so the 10k (longest distance that you can run in our conference) is my strength. My weakness is shorter events, anything shorter than the 5k really,” Flyte said.

Being a part of the track and field team has influenced all three members in a positive way that they appreciate the fact that the team is more than just teammates, but a support system no matter which event one is a part of.

Throughout the years the teams have gotten stronger due to the determination of each athlete along with the dedication the coaches have on the Loggers.

“I never thought track would turn out to be such a great experience for me here at Puget Sound.  Myles McDonald [an upperclassmen four years ago] convincing me to turn out for the team four years ago was one of the greatest things that has happened to me here at school.  I cannot imagine my experience here at Puget Sound without Track & Field.  It has become an integral part of who I am as a Puget Sound student and has allowed me to go above and beyond anything I had thought possible when I first entered school.  It has showed me that any time there is an opportunity to try something new, that the sky is the limit, and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish if you set your heart out to accomplish it,” Cerne said.