Track and field travels to Virginia
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The Westmont Men’s and Women’s Track and Field teams traveled to Lexington, VA for the Winter Relays at the Virginia Military Institute. Westmont competed against predominately NCAA Division 1 schools from the east coast, on an indoor 200-meter hydraulic banked track. The Warriors surprised many people all weekend with their energy, effort, and competitiveness.
Sophomore sprinter Aly Caldera described her team as: “The loudest in the building, just cheering for each other non-stop.” Some officials took notice of this and mentioned they had never heard a team so loud and they appreciated the way the team cheered on every athlete. Caldera is a part of the 4x800 women’s relay which took first at the meet (winning by over four seconds), and is now ranked second in the NAIA.
Emily Parks, junior anchor on the relay, said, “No one knew who Westmont was, but despite that we did remarkably well against D1 competition.” The men’s distance medley relay also won after a lot of hard work to begin the season.
This trip wasn’t just about the meet on the weekend, though, as the Warriors spent almost a full week on the East Coast visiting many different historical sites and landmarks. Parks commented on how great the trip was, saying, “This trip provided the time and space to have conversations with teammates outside of our training groups and event groups. Many times on the plane, the bus, and in the hotel we were with teammates that we usually don’t spend a lot of time with.” They visited Washington D.C., Gettysburg, and Monticello, as well as stopping to train at Head Coach Russell Smelley’s alma mater Richmond University.
After the long flights, trips around the coast, and nights in hotel rooms, the Westmont Track and Field team is now closer than ever. Junior Decathlete Pieter Top mentioned how special it was to see where their coach grew up. “We are all extremely grateful for the opportunity Coach Smelley gave us,” said Top. “We were able to gain insight into where he grew up and what made him into the amazing coach he is to us all.”
Top loved how much time everyone spent together as a team, and like other athletes on the team, emphasized how much fun their tours around the East Coast were. This trip only happens every four years for the track and field team, and is surely something they will never forget.
The next time the Warriors hit the track and field is this weekend at UCSB, followed by the NAIA Indoor National Championships on Feb. 28 - Mar 2. Multiple Westmont athletes have already qualified for Nationals and will be tuning up to make a splash again in South Dakota.