Claire Voltarel, Campus Carrier Sports Editor
|PHOTO COURTESY OF RHETT BUTLER|
|After the weekend’s success, three track and field athletes were named SAA Athletes of the Week. Sophomore Genesis Leggett, junior CJ Stone, and freshman Tucker Smith (above) were all recognized.|
Berry track and field kicked off their outdoor season by hosting their first meet on Saturday, the Victor Icebreaker Duals. The Vikings are now 2-0, having faced Sewanee and Oglethorpe at the meet.
Berry hosted 18 teams of Divisions II and III, as well as NAIA which provided an opportunity to compete against a variety of teams. Junior javelin thrower Alexa Bilsky, who placed second this weekend, said the team showed promise on Saturday for the upcoming season.
“It was a good mark of what our fitness is right now, what we are capable of and where we are going,” Bilsky said.
Several Vikings reached personal records this weekend, including sophomore Abby Carroll and senior Alainna Chretien in the 5,000 meter, junior CJ Stone in both 100 meter and 200 meter, and junior Ethan Caldwell and sophomore Mitchell Brice in pole vault.
Bilsky and freshmen pole vaulter Tucker Smith, who won his event, noted the significant difference in transitioning from indoor to outdoor season. According to Bilsky, several events including javelin cannot participate inside, so this meet was several Vikings first competition of the spring. For others, Bilsky said indoor serves more as a preparation for the rest of spring.
“For runners, indoor meets are just a chance for runners to get their legs out there and run a little faster,” Bilksy said.
Smith noted the importance of indoor season for team bonding and building morale. “Indoor helped us in growing closer,” Smith said. “Especially as a freshman I got to knew my teammates better.”
Because track and field is an individualized sport, it is difficult to maintain connection between members of different events. However, Bilsky said the team still strives to stay close.
“Coach Syverson does a very good job of trying to make us all be a team,” Bilsky said.
To encourage support on Saturday, track and field members were assigned “cheer buddies”. Vikings drew names of other teammates and attended their events to cheer them on. Bilksy said this helped members watch more events they have less experience in as well as interact with more teammates.
“It’s a really great way to try and learn about other events,” Bilsky said.
A different challenge presented to participants on Saturday was the colder weather. According to both Bilksy and Smith, the wind created difficulty for particular events, but as a whole, the team fought through it and were still successful.
According to Smith, the Vikings’ goal is to win conference this spring.
“Everyone is pretty excited about what we are going to be able to do this season,” Smith said.
The Vikings have the option to participate in the Shamrock Invitational at Myrtle Beach, S.C. on March 15-17.