Aggie Track and Field
By: Mason Orso
On Jan. 26, the Cameron track and field team visited the Mosier Indoor Facility at the University of Oklahoma for their first ever meet.
Athletic Director and head coach for the men/women’s track and field and cross country teams Zach Johnson looks forward to competition with the new additions to Cameron University’s athletics.
“The women’s cross country team is new, and we just added men and women’s track and field. This is our first season and it’s pretty exciting,” he said.
Johnson said Cameron was looking to add another women’s sport.
“It came down to either women’s soccer or track and field,” he said.
“Ultimately they ended up adding women’s track/field and cross country. I’m definitely excited we added the program.”
To separate Cameron from other track teams, Johnson’s main focus is to be good at distance running.
“There’s different events in track and field. We don’t have great facilities for long jump or throws, but we have the wild life refuge which is great for doing long runs,” he said.
“There are lots of dirt roads, so it’s great training resources for distance runners.”
The track and field teams only had two weeks to prepare for their meet in Norman.
“Most of the performance is based on what they accomplished themselves over Christmas break,” Johnson said.
“That’s always scary going into the first meet with so little time to prepare.”
The team practiced six days a week which includes two quality track workouts a week for distance runners.
Cameron University’s first track and field meet allowed the team to figure out where they are fitness- wise and to get a starting point for the rest of the season.
“For most of those competing it was kind-of a rust buster. We had a few people run personal best times, and that’s always great,” Johnson said.
“Our biggest focus is to get a meet under our belt, see where we are at, and keep moving forward.”
The team consists of almost all freshman.
“The negative is that we don’t have a lot of experience going to college meets and running on indoor tracks, but the positive is that everything is new, and they are excited about everything,” Johnson said.
Johnson stresses values so the team can be consistent and work hard.
“We want to be good team members, encourage each other and get better. We try to have a good culture within the program.” he said.
“I want them to be good students, always working to have a high team GPA. We want to try to be competitive in the Lone Start Conference which is pretty much the toughest track conference in D2.”
For the first meet, Johnson focused primarily on basics.
“I was just hoping everyone figured out how to check in. There’s a specific type of spike they let you use in your shoes, so you have to get your spike checked,” Johnson said.
“I was hoping we all had the right type of spike in our shoes.”
Freshman Communication major and member of the track and field team Shianne Taylor aid she just wants to run to the best of her ability.
“At first I was feeling really nervous because it was my first college meet, but once I stepped on the track, I let my nerves go and went after it. I let what I’ve been practicing just come to life.”
A challenge for Taylor was participants who already had experience at the meet.
“Those people already have set times. The biggest thing was psyching myself out, that other people were faster than me. I had to trust my training,” Taylor said.
Taylor said it means a lot to represent Cameron University on the men and womens’ track and field teams.
“I think it’s an awesome opportunity to be a part of the first women’s team and be a part of this new legacy that Cameron is going to have.”
Taylor ran the 600 race in one minute and thirty nine seconds which resulted in her being seated at 14th place.
On Feb. 9, Cameron will compete at the University of Central Oklahoma Broncho Open as part of the upcoming spring season.
Starting on Feb. 23, the official outdoor season begins at the Hardin-Simmons Invitational in Lubbock, Texas.