Track & Field Sends Multis To UConn
ALBANY, N.Y. – Less than one week after opening the indoor season at Boston University, the University at Albany track & field program will attend for the first time the UConn Multi Meet, affording an opportunity for the multis competitors on the roster to compete in their full events before the winter break.
“It’s really the first time this meet has existed,” said Associate Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Todd Wolin, who also serves as the multis events coach. “They might have had men’s before this year but I got notification from the coach in September that they would hold women’s events as well. The other day there were about 15 men entered and nine women. We’re bringing a decent-sized group so if those numbers hold, most of the competitors will be ours.”
This year’s roster includes the largest number of multis athletes in Wolin’s tenure, if not in program history. Though the team lost All-Conference performers Mary Adeyeye and Stefan Buechele to graduation, there are two men, Jake Coveney and Najee Taylor, and one woman, Letti Hibbard, returning who scored at conference championships last year.
“As I told the kids, this one is a barometer,” said Wolin. “See where we are, see what we need to work on. Doing it right before break is tough, because shortly after they’ll be on their own until they return on the eighth. I want to be able to see where they are now.”
Indoors, the men compete in a heptathlon and the women compete in a pentathlon, whereas outdoors, the men will compete in a decathlon and the women in a heptathlon. Because of the variety of events that the multis include, different athletes will excel in different parts of the overall event, and the early opportunity to compete fully in the multis will help narrow the training focus for each individual for the remainder of the season.
“At this point, for some of the kids we’re working on building their confidence, for others it’s their comfort level, and for others it’s an early test of the waters,” said Wolin. “For the men, Najee didn’t compete last week so he’s a little behind. But he has a full preseason behind him this year unlike last year, so his goal is to score as well as he did at conference championships. Jake is looking to get an IC4A mark taken care of out of the box. Jesse hasn’t competed since junior college nationals, a year and a half ago, so we’re just trying to gauge where he is. Nate is a brand new multis competitor, so this is, in part, a test to see if it is something we want to pursue. Adam is excited to go. I think he’s the real deal. Not that the other kids aren’t, but he’s coming in as a true multis athlete, not a converted athlete like some of the others.
“The women are competing on Friday, which is a little unusual because they normally compete on the first day of the event,” Wolin continued. “But it works out because they don’t have to miss the extra day of classes. Letti has looked really good in practice all season, as has Tori. Naomi has gotten over a bit of an injury from a few weeks ago and is coming around well. Adelaide looks really strong is best at the throws so she’s going to look to score most of her points there. Mecca is learning to high jump instead of just jumping high, which is what she did in high school. We’re working on her consistency. She and Tori pretty much lead every running workout.”
Normally, the multis competitors would have to wait until mid-late January before they competed in their full events for the first time. That usually meant that the student-athletes had a sharply truncated practice window upon their return from the winter break to prepare to run through their five or seven events in competition succession. The change to the schedule this year will offer a better opportunity for the student-athletes to perform well in their first full event, as well as their second before they reach indoor championships.
“This year, they’re in shape off of what we’ve done in the last three months,” said Wolin. “In previous years, they’re in shape, but then they go on break, come back, do one or two events at our meet, and then they have to do a full event the next week. There isn’t a lot of practice time coming back in January. This year they will be doing their first full attempt off of their full preseason and early season practice time. And on the other side of break, they will be coming back a day earlier than usual, competing in a full event a week later than usual, and have two opportunities to compete before their next full event.”
The men’s heptathlon will start Thursday, December 7 at 12:00 p.m. and continue through Friday, December 8. The women’s pentathlon will compete in its entirety on Friday starting at 12:00 p.m.