Track & field has the bar set high for winter

After falling just short of first place in the New Jersey Athletic Conference last season, the women’s track team is looking to regain the championship title during the 2012-13 season. The men’s track team has won the NJAC championship every year since the competition began in 1997 and is looking to defend their title again during the upcoming season.

“As a team, our number one goal is to win the NJACs. We’re really trying to rally together as a girl’s team and just win,” senior captain Brielle Doremus said after speaking about the team’s disappointment last year at the NJACs.

The team’s biggest competitions this season are the NJAC championships and the NCAA championships.

“For NCAAs, we’re always looking to send as many athletes as possible to the meet and contend for All-American Honors,” said head coach Phil Jennings.

Both the women and men have primarily young teams this year, consisting of significant numbers of incoming freshmen and walk-ons.

“We picked up a lot of freshmen, and if a lot them stick with it, I think we’ll have a pretty good team,” sophomore Drew Bloksberg said.

Alorro is ready to fly.

Doremus stressed the importance of getting the incoming freshmen to understand how important winning the NJACs is to the team, especially for the seniors.

“We’re trying to get the upperclassmen together to lead the freshmen,” said Doremus, whose 4×400-meter team made it to nationals during her freshmen year. “Senior year is all about getting back to that with these girls that I love.”

On the men’s side, sophomore Erik Moutenot reflected back on his distance medley relay team from last year that nearly missed going to nationals. Moutenot runs the 800-meter race in the DMR that combines the 1200-meter, 400-meter, 800-meter and the 1600-meter all into a relay.

Senior captain Steven D’Aiutolo has very high expectations for the season.

“My main goal is to make it to nationals and become an All-American in the triple jump for both indoor and outdoor seasons,” D’Aiutolo said.

Both teams are really stressing the importance of winning the NJACs by working hard and being committed.

“We expect our athletes to strive to be the best student-athletes they can be, balancing the rigors of training and competition with their academic pursuits,” Jennings said. “Our best athletes are highly competitive, team-oriented individuals that are willing to work hard and have a passion for the sport.”

D’Aiutolo shares this view of having positive athletes during especially brutal practices.

“As long as everyone stays positive and is willing to put in the work, we will be able to achieve all of the team goals we’ve established,” D’Aiutolo said.

In addition, sophomore Katelyn Ary is coming back to the team this season after undergoing knee surgery.

“Running and the injury have taught me the importance of perseverance and patience,” Ary said. “My teammates, coaches and trainers have been extremely encouraging and supportive when I was feeling discouraged.”

Although the track teams have set high expectations for the upcoming season, they’re still finding ways to enjoy themselves. Senior Julio Alorro has found a niche in pole vaulting that he says acts as his “sanctuary.”

“The world around me stops and it’s just me, my coach and my teammates having a great time vaulting high,” Alorro said. “I can honestly say I’ve never had a terrible time at track practice when I vaulted.”

The track teams are both looking towards a great season to make a successful showing at the NJACs and to be able to send athletes to the NCAAs. Both the men and women’s team are really looking for hard work and a good attitude to lead to a successful season.

“If you have a passion for something, pursue it and see it through because not many people can say they love what they do,” Alorro said.

The indoor track preseason officially starts on Saturday, Oct. 27 to prepare for their first meet on Dec. 8.