senior Abigail Bannon-Schneebeck Photo credit: Matthew Claybrook

Trinity’s track team kicked off this season with new personal records (PRs) and a record-breaking jump at their first meet. Both the men’s and women’s teams hope to carry this momentum into the rest of the season with the ultimate goal of winning their conferences.

In the first meet, held at Trinity, the men’s and women’s teams competed against 12 other teams. Women’s captain and senior Abigail Bannon-Schneebeck, who competed in sprinting events, saw improvement in many of the athletes’ performances at the Trinity Open. Bannon-Schneebeck achieved a PR in the 100 hurdles and 400 hurdles.

“We’ve had a lot of people come out already having their best marks in jumps and sprints and distance. So I feel like that just shows that we have a way stronger starting base than we have in the past,” Bannon-Schneebeck said.

Senior jumper and sprinter Mia Loseff also competed at her personal best, breaking Trinity’s record for highest pole vault jump with a height of 11.75 feet.

“I just think over the past three years, I’ve had some tweaks and things I’ve been needing to fix and finally it’s worked out. I guess it all fell into place. It was pretty exciting because I had cleared a high bar in indoor, but it didn’t count for the record. So when I cleared it, it was really exciting,” Loseff said.

Seve Rodriguez, a sophomore who competed in sprint events, credits much of the team’s success at the last meet to their endurance-based practices and weight training.

“Another thing that helped this year is we were able to go into the weight room, which is something we weren’t able to do until halfway through the season last year. So having that regular weight-lifting program in tandem with our outdoor workouts was very beneficial,” Rodriguez said.

In addition to physical training, leaders on the team hope to foster an inclusive environment, believing it will help the team compete. Bannon-Schneebeck has been working to organize team dinners, team game nights and better communication among teammates.

“Because it’s an individual sport, it’s really hard to feel like you love it all the time. But I think the biggest thing in terms of wanting to be part of the team is having the team dynamic that we’re trying to build. I think practice with teammates that you like is so much easier than practice just by yourself and in your own head,” Bannon-Schneebeck said.

Loseff hopes that the distance runners and sprinters will form stronger relationships as the season progresses.

“There’s usually a divide between the distance runners and the sprinters, so most of our bonding is trying to eliminate that. We try and hang out together. Ultimately, we’re both working together at big meets, like conference, to win. [Distance runners] just have a whole season before we become in season, during cross country,” Loseff said.

For conference, both the men and women teams will compete against other Division III schools, scoring points depending on individuals’ places in their events.

“In terms of conference, it just comes down to us being able to be in shape enough to do as many events as possible. Even if we don’t have our best performances all across the board, we kind of have to suck it up and do whatever we can to score the most points. My number one priority is winning conference for both sides, men and women, and then after that qualifying for nationals,” Bannon-Schneebeck said.

While the men’s team started this season with 15 first-years, the women’s team gained only one. Although the lack of women recruits won’t affect the women’s team at this year’s conference meet, Bannon-Schneebeck thinks it might in the future.

“Typically, I think it’s really hard for freshmen to qualify for the biggest meets. I think it’s more just going to be an issue once we graduate because there are 12 of us. That’s a pretty big class to graduate. But I think I’ve heard our coach talking, and he has pretty high hopes for the recruits for next year,” Bannon-Schneebeck said.

On March 23, the teams will travel to Texas Lutheran University (TLU) for their next meet.

Marcus Whitehead, head track and field coach, hopes both teams are ready to compete again at TLU.

“All I really ever expect is they take advantage of the opportunity to compete, making sure they are fully preparing themselves to compete at a high level,” Whitehead said.