By Jared Fields, Managing Editor
Despite gloomy weather keeping practices inside, the ACU track team is prepared for its first indoor meet of the season at the Wes Kittley Invitational in Lubbock.
The men’s and women’s teams are coming off runner-up finishes at the indoor nationals last year. Both teams are talented and looking to improve on last year’s indoor finish.
“The hard thing is not getting too excited,” head coach Don Hood said. “I’m kind of anxious to see what happens. There are a lot of question marks; I’m most anxious about seeing who can really step up when it’s time to do it.”
Both teams begin the season with a deep mix of experienced and new athletes.
The men’s team added depth since last year and retained a lot from their national outdoor championship last spring.
“There’s a confidence about them,” Hood said. “They realize they have a chance to win [national cross country, indoor and outdoor championships] and that puts pressure on them. That’s a good thing.”
Senior Marvin Bien-Aime, who won the 200-meter dash at the Kittley Invitational last year, said he feels more relaxed and confident this year after putting too much pressure on himself last year.
“The main goal I have this year versus last year is just to run a lot better,” Bien-Aime said. “Last year I put way too much pressure on myself.”
However, Bien-Aime said the chemistry and the comfort that has come after Hood’s first year has helped him and the team the most compared to last year. Adjusting to a new coach was challenging, but the transition to this year seems smooth.
“There is a lot more team chemistry,” Bien-Aime said. “Last year was coach Hood’s first year.”
In a program dominated by the success of the men’s program, this year the women’s team may be one of theschool’s best. At least that’s how coach Hood and the team feel.
“As a whole everybody was able to train hard this fall,” pole vaulter Angie Aguilar said. “Being runners-up was good, but we know we can do better.”
Aguilar had a full fall training program, missing the previous fall to knee surgery. She said she wants to have good technique in Lubbock, but also wants to get a good height while there.
“I’d at least like to go over 13,” Aguilar said.
No one is more anxious to see what the 2007 season holds than Hood, but he wants to reign in that excitement and treat the meet like a preseason scrimmage. But he said his main goal doesn’t involve any results.
“The No. 1 goal – stay healthy. That’s the bottom line,” Hood said. “And see some improvement.”