The men’s and women’s track team are gearing up for the Centennial Conference Indoor Championships on Feb. 23 and 24. The event is be hosted by Franklin & Marshall in Lancaster, Pa.
The men’s team looks to build on their fifth place finish last year, where they finished only three points behind fourth place finisher, Ursinus. There is definitely room to improve and place higher this time around.
The women’s team, however, finished last year’s championship in disappointing fashion, ending in ninth place. Despite that, they had some standout performances. Emily Mitchell ‘21 finished fourth in the long jump in her first conference meet with Alison Stouffer ‘20 finishing fifth in the event. The squad looks be competitive yet again in the long jump with both athletes returning to this year’s competition.
The Mules look to dethrone the defending champions in Johns Hopkins who came away victorious in both the men’s and women’s field, blowing away the competition with wins by considerable margins.
However, Coach Brad Hackett, who is the head coach of both teams, is not so concerned with the results this weekend. He has simply been proud of the team’s hard work.
“We have been training hard and working towards this weekend for months. My expectations for the weekend are that the student athletes on our team are rewarded for the hard work and that they discover what they are truly capable of when put into an important and competitive situation.”
Coach Hackett has been leading the track and field teams to success since he began at Muhlenberg in 1999. He knows what it takes to compete at the top of the conference, leading the men to three 2nd place finishes and the women to one championship in his tenure. His only concern is the size of the team following a season in which they had many graduating seniors.
“I would say the biggest weakness of our team right now is our overall roster size. We are down a bit from years past. There really is no way to adjust for that in the short term, and the long term adjustment is to continue to recruit aggressively in order to get the roster size up to where it was four to five years ago.”
Erik Berger ‘19, who is competing in discus and shot put this weekend, is hoping that his final Centennial Conference Championship is coming at the right time for the squad. “We are preparing for the Conference Championship through catering our workouts in a specific way so that we peak at the right time.”
Berger has placed in discus twice in his career. He finished in eighth place in both 2016 and 2017. He is hoping that Coach Hackett’s experience and methods in practice will take him and everyone else very far.
“Our coaches are motivating us by pushing us to become better athletes. We are confident that our hard work will pay off.”