By Conner Farrell —
As the spring sports season approaches, the men and women’s track and field teams prepare for both indoor and outdoor events.
With three invitationals already under their belt and a strong showing on both teams this past weekend at the Notre Dame Invitational, The Cardinal sports staff caught up with head coach Dale Cowper to hear his thoughts on the team thus far and what to look forward to.
“Our program is really built upon diversity and that’s one of the things that makes it fun every day,” Cowper said.
The track and field team has 90 members, with 43 on the men’s squad and 47 on the women’s. Each of those members compete in a wide range of events both indoors and outdoors.
These events include distance running, sprints, shot put, long and high jumps and pole vault.
Last week’s invitational featured freshmen Brook Raglin and Dorcas Wasike, picking up their first collegiate wins. Raglin won in the 60 meter preliminary with a time of 7.59 and Wasike won in the 3,000 meter run with a time of 9:43.82. Both participated in indoor events.
“Our women’s freshmen group is really coming on, we have a huge freshman class. They are progressing a little bit quicker than we had anticipated which is exciting,” Cowper said.
On the men’s side of outdoor events, their strength comes from the members who participate in the high and long jumps.
“Our men’s jump group is just upperclassmen laden, we have so many talented freshmen coming on as well so the men’s jump really stands out,” said Cowper.
Led by seniors Marcus Jegede, Jerin Allen and Javen Reeves, the men’s jump group has clinched two wins since the new year began, including Allen and Reeves winning in high jump in the Vanderbilt Opener and Kentucky Invitational.
Freshman Donald McClinton Jr. notched his win of the season in the long jump at the Notre Dame Invitational posting a collegiate best 7.52m/24’81/4”. McClinton also placed second on the track in the 60 meter dash with a season best of 6.93.
On the women’s side, their strength comes from the indoor events.
“Our women’s squad is stacked up in indoor events,” said Cowper. “Certainly in the field, the throws, the pole vault and the multi-events. Especially when you look at the Notre Dame results, that’s where a lot of the points came from so they’re really the backbone of both sides.”
The women’s field team is led by senior shot putter Emmonnie Henderson, who holds the school record which was achieved at the 2016-17 NCAA Indoor Championships with a throw of 17.50m/57-05.00. Henderson has also earned All American honors and All ACC honors in prior seasons.
The track and field team has three more invitationals until the indoors postseason begins on Feb. 22.
While the outdoors postseason does not begin until May 5.
Their next event comes on Feb. 2 at the Power 5 Invitational in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
You can follow Conner Farrell on Twitter @ConnerFarrell9.
Photo by Dalton Ray / The Louisville Cardinal