The University of Richmond men's and women's track & field started the indoor season building upon the success the cross country teams had in the fall.
The Spider women placed fourth and the men placed seventh overall on Jan. 14 at the Hoya Spiked Shoe Invitational in Bethesda, Md. At last weekend's Terrapin Invitational in Landover, Md., the women placed sixth and the men placed 22nd at the meet hosted by the University of Maryland.
Men's head coach Steve Taylor said that the Terrapin Invitational was only the program's third event of the indoor season.
"A lot of the other teams were more prepared than us, simply because we were still getting back into the routine of training and academics," he said. "These next few weeks will show our performance taking off."
Senior men's distance runner Andrew Benford said that the past two meets served as openers for most of the athletes, especially those who had not competed in cross-country in the fall.
"Meets like these at the beginning of the season are good to shake the rust off and get everyone used to competing again," he said. "They also serve as good indicators for where everyone is in terms of their fitness at this point in our training."
Benford said that the men's distance running group has been building upon the foundation laid during its cross-country NCAA Championship run in the fall.
"Making it to nationals as a team gives us more confidence than anything," he said. "We know that we can run with and beat some of the best runners in the nation."
Senior women's thrower Monica Howard said that the team was content with its successes during the last two meets.
"We were pretty pleased with the way the meets turned out, especially since a couple of girls set some personal bests," Howard said.
Senior distance runner Nicol Traynor also said that the team had some good performances.
"For several athletes, the Hoya Spiked Shoe Invitational was the first weekend of competition, so it was nice to have some good performances," she said.
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Howard finished in seventh place in the women's weight throw with a mark of 14.63 meters at the Terrapin Invitational. Junior Meaghan McGovern completed the Spider throwing tandem with a mark of 13.95 meters for an eighth place finish. Howard said that there were only two throwers for the indoor season.
"We are just hoping to score some points for the team at the conference meet," she said.
Traynor said that two distance-specific core goals were having the runners set personal records and having as many athletes score at the Atlantic-10 conference meet as possible.
"Another goal is that we want to get good mileage in for the transition into the outdoor season," she said.
Howard and Traynor both said that the team's top goal was to have a better finish in the A-10 conference meet.
"The only meet that keeps a team score is the conference meet," Traynor said. "The University of North Carolina-Charlotte and the University of Dayton have been pretty dominant over the past few years."
Howard also said the level of competition at the conference meet was the most important goal to focus on.
"The A-10s get better every year, so really, all of the conference teams are our competition," she said.
Benford said that most indoor track meets, aside from the conference meet, are less team-oriented than cross country.
Taylor said that the goal for both the men's and women's programs was to have their best meets at the conference championships.
"For the women, I know they want to be in the top three in the conference," he said. "The men are also hoping to improve and finish in the top six teams in the conference."
The Spiders' next test will be Saturday Jan. 29 in Fairfax, Va., at the Patriot Games, hosted by George Mason University.
Contact staff writer Amelia Vogler at firstname.lastname@example.org
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