The HCAC released its much-anticipated preseason track standing predictions earlier last week. The AU men’s team was picked second while the women’s team was chosen to finish fifth in the conference. Voted on by the 10 conference coaches, the polls are designed to predict how successful a season will be for each team. Yet no poll could predict how exciting Anderson’s season debut would be for both teams.
In his second year as head coach for the Ravens, Brian Williams is ready to build on last season’s results and push for better performances on all fronts of the AU track and field teams. As Coach Williams prepared for Saturday’s first meet, he commented, “We’ve got some areas where we’re going to score where people don’t think we will.”
He knew the challenges that lay ahead for the first meet of the season; a new class of young athletes, the ongoing process of choosing which events to place athletes and working out the kinks that come with the first meet of the season.
When Saturday’s Indiana Wesleyan Invitational finally rolled around, no one could have predicted the incredible start to the season both teams would have. Despite having less athletes than usual because of injuries and illness, the Ravens were still able to go out and compete against other top track and field teams in the conference.
Amongst several top finishes for the Raven’s, sophomore Courtney King set a school record in the women’s long jump. Her jump of 5.05 meters was the biggest highlight from the indoor track meet and for Raven’s fans. She beat the record twice, earning the top honor of holding a collegiate record.
Other exciting finishes for the Ravens included a second place finish by Derek Mallory in the 60-meter hurdles, Margo Sinclair claiming second in both the 1-mile run and 3000-meter run, and Garrett Cooley and Jake Gehman placing second and third respectively in the 60-meter dash.
Mallory, Cooley and Gehman were all influential runners for the team last season. Each meet, they put up big numbers for AU and on several occasions added much needed points that ushered the Ravens into top team finishes.
On the women’s side, Sinclair was named Honorable Mention at the end of the last season with a third place finish in the 3000m steeplechase. With this year being her fourth and final year to compete, all eyes will be on Sinclair as she looks to set a new personal record and earn top HCAC honors.
Overall, Coach Williams was pleased with his team’s season debut. “The meet went well,” said Williams. “I was very pleased with how each of our athletes competed today and equally pleased by how they represented the university, their team, and themselves.”
With this weekend off, the Ravens have a full two weeks to prepare for their next meet. They look to build on their exciting season debut with more top 10 finishes on both sides. “We still have several people that weren’t able to compete today due to illness, academic commitments, and minor injuries. I am looking forward to the entire team competing at our next meet on February 6.”
The Ravens host the Anderson Invitational inside the Fieldhouse of the KWC. With hopes of a full roster and the first meet under their belt, the Ravens will be ready to compete and prove the preseason polls wrong.