Track teams split up to start outdoor season, begin Friday at Stanford, San Francisco State, Eastern Illinois

This weekend, the men's and women's Central Michigan Track and Field teams will be splitting up for the first competition of the outdoor season.

The 400-meter and distance runners will run at the Stanford University Invitational in California while the distance runners will be headed to San Francisco State for the Distance Carnival, also in California. The rest of the team will travel to Eastern Illinois for the Big Blue Classic.

“We are chasing competition,” said Assistant Coach Bryant Wilson. “Stanford is a fairly elite meet with entry standards you have to meet to make it in and the distance runners compete a few times a year, and this will be a hot meet (for them). We will ship them out there to get them the best competition that they can see.”

The goal for the 400-meter group is to see where it stacks up against top competition whereas the distance runners are looking towards qualifying standards for the Mid-American Conference Championship.

The majority of distance runners throughout the nation attempt to hit their qualifying marks early in the season while still at peak condition from the indoor season. After hitting the qualifying standards, they will then ease up on the competition and focus on training for the conference meet and post-conference meets such, as regionals.

While the 400-meter and distance runners are enjoying the sunny, 70 degree weather forecasted for this weekend in California, the rest of the team will be in Charleston, Illinois where the weather is forecasted to have a high of 55 degrees and a low of about 30 degrees with 20-30 mph winds that could have an impact on the athletes.

“Wind, weather, temperature, those are all things you can’t control,” Wilson said. “(For this first meet), you really just want to see where the athletes are at, just try to get a gauge. As long as we prepare and go out there and handle our business then we will be just fine.”

Adjustments from indoor to outdoor season

The weather isn’t the only adjustment athletes will have to face from the indoor to outdoor seasons. Some of the events themselves change.

For sprints, the 60-meter dash becomes the 100-meter dash, the 60-meter hurdles becomes the 110-meter hurdles and outdoor adds the 400-meter hurdles.

Distance runners run the mile for indoor and 1,500-meters for outdoor. The 3,000-meter steeplechase and the 10,000-meter run are also added on.

Throwers also experience differences, with the weight throw becoming the hammer throw and adding the discus and javelin events, which cannot be done at indoor events.

“I think that we are definitely a better outdoor team,” said Head Coach Mark Guthrie. “We are good in the throws, the longer sprints and the longer hurdle events. The steeplechase has also been a good event for us as well.”

Thursday was the team’s travel day, with all events taking place Friday and Saturday. This is the team’s first meet since the MAC Indoor Championships on Feb. 26-27. The men finished fifth out of five teams and the women finished seventh out of 12 teams.