Outdoor Track Hosts Spring Classic
ALBANY, N.Y.—With only three weeks left until the 2016 America East Conference Championships, the University at Albany track & field team will be hosting the 32nd Spring Classic—their only home meet of the season—on Saturday, April 23. This meet will also serve as the Senior Day for the departing class of 19 student-athletes, who have been a part of 16 championships over the past four years.
“We’re really excited about putting on a home meet that continues to grow,” said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Roberto Vives. “It’s also our Senior Day, so for those athletes that have given a lot to the program these last four years, it’s a chance to honor their contributions. It’s always great when our student athletes can compete in front of their friends, families, professors, and other teams—that’s always an exciting part for them.”
The meet will feature 20 colleges, 12 club teams, and field over 650 competitors. UAlbany will also face a number of Division 1 schools, including: Hartford, Northeastern, Vermont, and Wagner, among others.
“We have over 650 athletes in the meet. It’s a good blend of Division 1, Division 2, Division 3, and club teams,” said Vives “We’ll have alumni coming to compete as well. It’s going to be a competitive meet all the way across, and it’s at a point in the season where the student-athletes can flourish and continue to improve on their performances, while qualifying for post-season events.”
Last year, the Spring Classic was a two day affair, featuring the multi-events. This year, the coaching staff decided to keep the meet to a single day due to lack of entries in the men’s decathlon and women’s heptathlon.
“This will be a great weekend for them to not be on the road,” said Vives. “Coming from a lot of travel, it will be good for them to have a break. We had two meets this past week at both Vermont and UConn. They’ll be at home and won’t feel tired, which is especially important since Penn Relays will be coming up next weekend. They’ll be well-rested and ready to continue for the championships later on.”
This meet will give the student-athletes a break from the long travels they’ve encountered so far this season. Instead of competing at the Princeton Invitation and making that long drive, they will be able to perform in the comfort of their own home facility. The coaching staff agreed that it was a nice opportunity for the athletes to wake up, compete, and walk home instead of dealing with the extra stress of traveling.
“I think it’s exciting to get to be in our own circles, get to sleep in your own bed, and just walk over to the competition,” said Throws Coach Deshaya Williams. “The student-athletes will have a home-field advantage. I’m looking for them to execute what they’ve been working on the whole year and have a good time. We’re supposed to have good weather, so I’d like them to use that and get some big throws for Penn Relays and even those at the Capital District—they’ll both be great meets.”
After this weekend, only one meet remains until the conference championships. A select group of student-athletes will travel to Penn Relays to compete, while the rest of the team will stay local at the Capital District Classic.
“We have 250 more athletes entered this year than last,” explained Associate Head Coach for Track and Field/Cross Country Todd Wolin. “It’s a lot bigger—almost double the size. There are a number of D1 schools helping to build up the meet with many talented athletes in each event. We have a great facility and people are coming to compete.”
The Spring Classic kicks off Saturday, April 23 at 10:00 A.M. with the men’s hammer, women’s javelin, women’s pole vault, women’s long jump, and men’s long jump. Track events begin at 12:00 p.m. with the 5,000.