Blue Jays kickstart indoor season with Ursinus’ Bow-Tie Invitational

TEMP ORARY November 28, 2012 0

The Elizabethtown College Blue Jays will take on the Ursinus College Grizzly Bears on Saturday, Dec. 1, in indoor track and field at the Bow-Tie Invitational. The meet will be held at Ursinus in Collegeville, Pa. and will start at 9:00 a.m.
This is the first meet of the indoor season for the Blue Jays. However, there is not another meet until after winter break. This meet is set up to see where the team is, according to senior mid-distance runner Jake Blanton.
“For the distance runners, it is to see how our fitness is based off of our cross country season,” Blanton said. “We are expecting to compete to the best of our ability and have fun doing it. Whether we get our result or not, it works out because it is so early in the season. We will have plenty of time to work harder and move forward.”
Blanton explained that the team isn’t doing anything special to get ready for this meet; they are just continuing to show up to practice to work hard with a great attitude.
“I can see everyone getting better each day,” Blanton said. “I can’t wait to be out there this coming weekend supporting my teammates and seeing what they can do.”
Senior jumper Jenna Niedermayer said the team is going to regular practices and trying to get some sleep during the crunch time that all Etown students are going through.
“I expect our team to come out ready for some competition at this meet,” Niedermayer said. “We’ve been training since September and we have a bunch of rookies and returning athletes alike who are ready to feel the thrill of some competition.”
Looking to the rest of the season, Blanton doesn’t doubt his team. “I have every bit of confidence in our team and we expect to compete and work as hard as we can to get better and be there to fight for the Middle Atlantic Conference championship at the end of the season,” he said.
The indoor season is shorter than its outdoor counterpart. Including the Bow-Tie Invitational, the Blue Jays will compete in seven meets before the Middle Atlantic Conference Indoor Championships. Last year, the men and women took third place at the championships.
The MAC championship will take place in March 2013. Along with Etown and rival Messiah College, the conference teams that participate in indoor track and field are Albright College, Alvernia University, Delaware Valley College, DeSales University, Lebanon Valley College, Manhattanville College, Misericordia University and Widener University.
“There is tough competition in our conference,” Blanton said, “but we know we have the talent and the drive to overcome that and take home the title.”
Niedermayer said, “Our goal is to win the conference title, plain and simple. It is something we have yet to achieve as a team in my previous three years and that would be the crowning jewel.”
Blanton hopes that as a team they will support the individuals who get the opportunity to compete at a high level and potentially qualify for and race at the NCAA Division III Nationals, which will also take place in March. Niedermayer would like to qualify for nationals this season with as many of her teammates as possible. There is a NCAA Last Chance Meet for those athletes who did not qualify for nationals after the conference championships the week in between.
Head Coach Joel Hoffsmith is confident in his team to perform well this season. “We have a large core of top athletes: [senior] Luke Rotenberger, [junior] Matt Reever, [junior] Lucas Dayhoff, [junior] Kevin Brady, [junior] Brian Layng, as well as other top male athletes,” he said. “On the women’s team we have [senior Jenna] Niedermayer, [senior] Ashley Lockwood, [junior] Traci Tempone, [junior] Eileen Kroszner, [senior] Taryn Shank and other top athletes that lead the team.”
This invitational is the only indoor track event before winter break. Blanton believes that the time off does put a bit of a damper on training.
“We get so used to running and training together as a team with a group of individuals who make you push and work as hard as you can so, for most people, running by yourself in the cold, snowy weather is harder,” he said. Blanton believes training with the team is so easy because they push each other regardless of year or performance level.
Niedermayer agreed that the personal training during winter break is difficult because of the change. “Imagine training for almost three months with a team then being back in the comfort of your own home, the holidays with family, freezing temperatures outside and no one but yourself to train with,” she said. “Winter break is a test of your personal character and dedication.”
Niedermayer added, “I’m excited for my fellow seniors and I to get this season to get under way, and I look forward to setting more personal bests for myself before my collegiate indoor career ends.”
“I am very excited to see what our team can accomplish in the first meet and the rest of the season,” Blanton said.

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