Track & Field hosts Great Dane Classic
ALBANY, N.Y. — Returning early from break, the University at Albany track and field program is ready to kick off the 2019 indoor season this weekend when it hosts the 16th Annual Great Dane Classic at Ocean Breeze complex in Staten Island, N.Y. This is the fourth year the classic has been held at Ocean Breeze, after moving venues from the previous location at the Armory in New York City.
The Great Danes competed once this season, participating in the Sharon Colyear-Danvielle Season Opener in early December, before heading home for the winter recess. Head Coach Roberto Vives was proud of his team’s effort in the meet and is looking forward to seeing the progress his athletes have made during the two-week break.
“This is the first meet of the New Year, and we use this weekend as a starting point,” said Vives. “We’ve decided to take the emphasis off the team this year. Our meet is a little early for a team meet. It’s just going to be more of an opportunity to let people see where they are after the holidays and maybe get some qualifying marks. It will be a good starting point for us to see if people did their homework over break.”
The Great Dane Classic represents the true opening to the season, despite the team having competed before the holidays. It is also the only meet UAlbany will host during the indoor season. But holding a “home” meet away from campus doesn’t bother the team.
“The athletes look forward to hosting the Great Danes Classic every year,” said Vives. “They feel like it is really their meet. It creates a comfort level. A lot of our athletes are familiar with the tracking, having competed there in high school during the state championships.”
The competition field for Saturday is expected to include 25 universities, as well as professional clubs and countries.
Following the Great Dane Classic, the team will visit Middlebury for the Winterfell Meet for the third consecutive season.
“Competing at Middlebury gives us a small meet experience, as it features around four or five institutions,” explained Vives. “A smaller invitational provides the opportunity for our team to work on different things such as running a secondary event, something they don’t normally do.”
UAlbany will return to the highly anticipated Columbia Invitational and the Dr. Saunders meet.
“The indoor season is fast for us — next month is already the conference championship," Vives said. "We bring the entire team to the first two meets so we can get a fair look at everyone as we move forward in our preparation for the Dr. Sanders Invitation and of course the America East Championships.”