Leathernecks hope to warm up in Charleston

Michael Rinella begins his pole vault.


Michael Rinella begins his pole vault.

Bradley Piros, Courier Staff

MACOMB Ill. – It might be the middle of a very frigid and harsh winter here in Macomb, but the Western Illinois track and field teams are back in action this weekend as they’re looking to heat things up when they take it back indoors. The Leathernecks head into their third meet of the season, as they travel across state and participate in the John Craft Invitational. The Eastern Illinois University Panthers will be hosting this invite inside their Lantz Indoor Field House, as this will be the second time the Leathernecks head over there this season.

The Leathernecks are coming off of a rough performance as they participated in the University of Northern Iowa Open Invitational last Saturday. The UNI Panthers dominated majority of the events but Western did shine in a couple of them. To give them a little credit, it was their first time competing in over a month due to winter break and they weren’t competing with their complete roster.

Continuing on, Western had a couple of strong showings in the men’s and women’s 400-meter dash. On the men’s side freshman Dylan Smerillo came in a close second place with a time of 50.96 seconds. The women’s division came in third and fourth behind two UNI Panthers. Sophomore Megan Reed recorded a time of 1:04.12 while her senior teammate Raytoria Richardson came in right behind her at 1:04.22.

Moving forward, a couple of women got the job done for Western in field events as freshman Amelia Peterson came in first in the long jump with a mark of 17-09 1/2 (5.42 m), but she wasn’t done there. She also recorded a mark of 36-11 (11.25 m) in the triple jump, which put her in first place. Following her was Reed in second as her jump came in at 35-07 3/4 (10.86 m).

Needless to say, some underclassmen are getting the job done for Western, and they only continue to get better each meet. Also looking ahead, head coach Nick Maas only had good things to say, “We still have some things to learn about meet day preparation, but we are young and the group is eager to learn. They are really coming together as a team and trusting each other more every day, which is a great sign of team growth. During the last few races, the whole team was surrounding the track and cheering. Next week, we should have the full roster competing with many in their normal events.”

Expect only the best from the Leathernecks as everyone is excited to get back to business. Coming back from break is an exciting time all around, and as of now, the season is in full swing from here on out. The Leathernecks won’t get another off week until transitioning into outdoor season, where they’ll only have a two-week gap which includes spring break. Western will have two back-to-back meets in February, and then round off the regular indoor season in Champaign Illinois when they travel to the University of Illinois for the annual Orange and Blue Invite.

It gets a lot tougher for the Leathernecks moving forward, but for now they’re just going to take it one meet at a time, and continue building as a team. Look for an exciting meet this Saturday when they head to their cross-state rivals over at EIU. The meet is set to start at 10 a.m. that chilly morning.

Twitter: bradjp08