The Michigan State track and field team will be kicking off outdoor season at N.C. State for the Raleigh Relays.
Track and field is split up into two seasons, indoor and outdoor. The reason for this is weather, because no one wants to run on a outdoor track in January.
By the time March comes hopefully temperatures are warmer and the snow has melted. In Michigan this is always debatable and so MSU heads south.
Weather has already caused some issues for the team. The 2015 Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Track & Field Invitational, previously scheduled for April 4 and 5, was cancelled. The outdoor track was resurfaced in the fall and due to winter weather conditions the lane lines were not able to be measured and painted on.
“I think anytime we cancel a home contest its a little aggravating,” head coach Walt Drenth said. “There is a rare opportunity for many of them to compete in front of friends and family that not may not otherwise get the chance to.”
While the athletes will be missing out on some home action in April, MSU will be hosting the Big Ten Outdoor Championship May 15, 16 and 17. The men’s and women’s teams are coming off 9th and 5th place finishes in the Big Ten Indoor Championship and looking to improve those finishes in the outdoor season.
Drenth said all the athletes ended indoor season wanting to have higher to be competitive contenders at the Big Ten meet.
Senior Tori Franklin had a disappointing 12th place finish in the triple jump, an event where she has previously placed 2nd and 5th. Coach Drenth said that while it’s frustrating it can be seen as a learning experience.
“Tori has a high level of energy, she’s a real assertive competitor and it seemed like that stuff was missing,” Drenth said. “It’s not about what she didn’t do, but what can we do differently and I think that learning opportunity will allow her to be really really good when we get to the outdoor national championships.”
Distance senior runner Leah O’Connor earned a first place finish in the indoor mile event at the NCAA Championship. For outdoor season she will be looking to earn a second national championship in the steeplechase. If she succeeds it will be her third national championship as an MSU athlete.
The Raleigh Relays begins Friday, March 27 and runs through Saturday March, 28.