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The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

Track and Field season ends on a high

Tangerine File Photo

Published on March 31, 2023  – The Utica University track and field off the back of a successful year had 26 members selected for the Empire 8 all-conference team this season. The Pioneers received two national qualifiers, eight conference champions, 13 school records broken, and 79 Utica all-time top 10 lists.

Andy Hadasz, an MVCC transfer, and company, racked up 232 total points for the Pioneers. The sprinter wrapped up his first indoor championship season with multiple university all-time top 10 list rankings and the Empire 8 200m championship. 

Following the conclusion of the indoor season Hadasz offered some words of advice to incoming freshmen and fellow teammates. 

 “Come to practice with the mindset to get better every day,” he said. “Instead of taking a rep off to really focus on every rep, focus when you’re in the training room, and don’t skip days.” 

Putting the work in while trusting the process and the coaching staff, Hadasz said is important, especially during the times when you might come up short. 

Trusting the process is exactly what graduate student Laura Meade did, putting all faith in the coach’s decision to have her run the pentathlon.

Meade has an extensive track resume having run every sprint event, 400m hurdles, and long and triple jumps. However, one week before the indoor championships Meade was diagnosed with tendinitis in her knee making it difficult for her to walk. 

Still, she was determined to finish out the season. In the end, she broke the pentathlon record despite being jokingly confused about how the points tally works. 

“My first time running it was this season and I actually broke the school record my first time doing it,” Meade said. “Then I just rebroke it again at the Empire 8 championships.” 

According to Meade, doing the workouts given by the coaches and trusting that they know best will help is an important factor at the end of the day. 

“You might think you do but they know what they are doing,” Meade said. “Don’t be afraid to try new events because you never know what may happen when you try a new event. You may end up being way better at it than any other event that you have been trying. The coaches will be able to see that in you, always trust them.”

Fellow teammate Mackenzie Mix finished the indoor season having qualified for nationals in the 400m. Mix finished the event in second place while representing the Empire. She also finished as conference champion in the 200m,  placed 12th in the all-Atlantic region championships, and 11th in the 60m dash. She also ran a 56.90 in the 400m NCAA division III  champions in Alabama which saw her rank 18 nationally. 

Senior jumper Zuriel Wright also qualified for national in the high just having set the Pioneer school record for the in the event at 2.05m and tied for sixth place at the all-regional championships meet with a height of 1.95m. 

At nationals, Wright finished 18th in the nation bowing out at 2.03m. He attributes his success to the relationship he has with his teammates and how they’ve improved together.

“Watching my teammates get better and improve each meet kept me going,” Wright said. “We have a lot of new talent on the team and it’s inspiring watching them get better every day.”

The camaraderie in the team kept the squad locked in on event days. They took it one step at a time and didn’t overthink things throughout the season. 

“My coach always says forget that and move on to the next one,” Meade said. “If I have a bad workout he’ll say you know what you are capable of, just because you have one bad day doesn’t mean you are bad.”

Wright echoed the same sentiment by saying that his best advice is to “win the day” and be proud of your victories as they come.

“The team really encourages each other [and] picks each other up when we have bad reps or your times aren’t good,”  Hadasz said. “Everyone is there for each other and everyone’s rooting for you. It’s like a small family even though it’s not so small. There are more people than you can name on a track team. One of my favorite parts this year is how close the team is”

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