After finishing second in the American Athletic Conference, the Cardinals have very high hopes as a team and individually coming into this season.
“My goals for this season are to finish, at the very least, in the top three at the NCAA finals, top two at the British national championships and secure my spot at the world championships in Beijing,” Triple jumper Ben Williams said of his individual goals.
“Our goals for this season are to stay healthy and be a major competitor in the ACC indoor and outdoor championships,” Long Jumper Nick Kennedy said of the team goals.
Williams came to Louisville as one of the top prospects from England and is hoping to compete for Great Britain in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
“In England I have been number-one ranked in the country for my age group since the age of 16. I needed a new challenge and also a good transition from my junior age group to senior. For me, competing in America was an ideal situation. Triple jump has a very high standard in the U.S., especially at the collegiate level. I believe that at this age the standard is higher in the states, so it is definitely more difficult and challenging, but this just makes me train harder and perform better,” Williams said.
He was unable to compete last year in outdoor competition due to injury, but is hoping to make a big impact on the team moving into the ACC.
“For me, motivation is key to my improvement. Although many would be extremely happy with a fourth place at the NCAA finals, I believe that my ability can take me further. This drives me in each training session to give 100 percent. Last year I was only able to have one shot at the finals, this was during the indoor season. This year, however, I get to compete in both the indoor and outdoor championships, allowing me to train for a longer period of time out here which will undoubtedly aid my improvement,” Williams said.
The team as a whole keeps themselves just as motivated as Williams.
“As a team, we came very close to winning a conference indoor championship last season, placing second. Being runner-up has been a great deal of motivation for us to move forward and push harder for that championship title this year, indoor and outdoor. Striving to win a conference championship will motivate us to keep improving at all of our events,” Kennedy said of how the team keeps improving after such a good season last year.
The Atlantic Coast Conference brings all new challenges to this team as a whole. They will face much higher competition, with twice as many teams ranked in the top 25 in the nation than their conference last year.
“Our team is adjusting to the ACC just the way we expected to. The level of competition may be higher, but at the end of the day we’re all doing everything we can out there to win, no matter what conference we’re in. The new level of competition is a lot higher, which pushes us individually to do better each meet and transitions into our team becoming stronger as a whole,” Nick Kennedy said of the team adjusting to the great new conference.
This team has a chance to do great things and bring a championship back to Louisville, like many other teams have done lately for Louisville. The team will be tested and pushed to the limit and it should be fun to see how well they do this season.