The reigning ASUN Champion Owls gear up for the 2016-17 track season with high expectations.
“As our program has improved exponentially over the last several years it gets more and more difficult to break records, but I have no doubt that this team will continue to do just that,” said head coach Andy Eggerth.
The track team has been training tirelessly since early October. The NCAA allows teams to train 20 hours a week starting then, but the student-athletes started training individually long before October.
“We spend one hour, four days a week working on strength development at 5:30 a.m. in the weight room,” Eggerth said. “Then five days a week we spend about three hours on the track and in the field working on speed, coordination, stamina and mobility.”
All of the track teams’ practice and hard work is not in vain as they look to repeat as ASUN Conference champions.
“At the risk of sounding arrogant, both the men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor championships are ours to lose,” Eggerth said. “No doubt several of our student-athletes will break school and ASUN records and be crowned individual event champions.”
Eggerth seems quite confident in his team’s abilities, but with the success they have had in the past few years, can you blame him?
The Owls have many returning athletes that will look to add to KSU’s growing list of track accolades.
Redshirt junior Jordan Gray, who competes on the women’s team, narrowly missed a bid to the NCAA Indoor Championship last season, but she was included in the first team All-America outdoor team.
Gray also competed in the U.S. Championship and an IAAF Challenge. She was mentioned by her coach as an athlete who has stood out during training.
Junior Dayo Akindele, who competes on the men’s team, was the ASUN MVP last season and made it to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Outdoor Championship. Eggerth said that he has a strong chance to make a significant impact again this season.
“[Akindele] has a very legitimate shot at breaking our school and ASUN record held by our resident professional/post-collegiate athlete, Andre Dorsey,” Eggerth said.
In addition to these well-established upperclassmen, the Owls have several new additions to the team to look out for.
“I’d be surprised if Tyler Jones and Karl Jõeäär don’t advance to the NCAA Championships in the long jumps and/or triple jump right away as freshmen,” Eggerth said. “They have a lot of physical tools.”
The Owls also have freshman thrower Tyler Blalock and several talented freshman sprinters, who the coaching staff anticipates will make contributions this season.
Eggerth lamented that he could not mention more players due to the time constraints of the interview, but he said he is extremely proud of his team in its entirety.
While the team’s athletic talent is undeniable, Eggerth said that something deeper brings success to his team.
“It’s their character that allows us to have a championship culture enjoying sustained success, and it’s a blessing to serve them,” Eggerth said.
The Owls will start their 2018 indoor season on Jan. 13 at Purdue University in Indiana.