Track to particapate in Joey Haines Invitational

Kejuan Rucker, Courier Staff

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.—Our Western Illinois track and field teams find themselves back on the road this weekend as they travel to the campus of Southeast Missouri for the Joey Haines Invite. After an impressive outing in the opening of the outdoor season, assistant coach Nick Maas understands that the second meet of the season is bound to go better than the the first, because the team has to get adjusted to traveling and become comfortable with participating in events.

“Last week, we put a lot of people in different events… This week we are going to get people dialed in to their main event areas, so there should be some good performances this weekend,” said Maas.

Last weekend, the Leathernecks were able to leave the Southern Illinois Invitational with two event wins in the men and women’s long lump competition, along with 12 top-five spots and two all time markers, showing that their confidence levels are high especially towards this weekend’s competition.

The Leathernecks will face off against nine other Division I teams such as: Marquette, Middle Tennessee, Lipscomb, Murray State, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, Memphis, Austin Peay, UT Martin and the host, Southeast Missouri. Maas is not too worried about the team because of the conditioning and training that took place prior to the start of the outdoor season. Despite letting the team enjoy their spring break, he sees the hard work and improvement of the Leathernecks.

“We have a very good group of hardworking people, so it shows some good things for our team,” Maas said.

Indeed, there will be high expectations for the Leathernecks to earn one of the top three spots in the invite. Last year, the Leathernecks were able to dominate the competition, as the men placed sixth out of the 10 participating teams, while the women earned a third place spot in the Invitational. Maas explained that every event will be competitive this weekend, so he cannot predict which event will turn out better for the team; however, they are excited to go down to Southeast Missouri and prove that Western Illinois did not come to play around.

“I think our biggest issue is the weather… Thunderstorms and rain are predicted to cause a delay in the meet, so it’ll be a bit of an adjustment for us… Competitive-wise, there should be a good turn out for us like it was at the SIU invite,” Maas.

The Joey Haines Invitational will begin on Friday at 3:30 p.m., beginning with the hammer throw. Let’s give our best wishes to the Western Illinois track and field teams and hope that they come back with a first place victory!

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