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Outdoor track and field gearing up for its grand finale

Outdoor track and field gearing up for its grand finale

Senior Kedron Sowells competed in the 4X300-meter relay at the NCAA West Preliminary in 2014-2015. Courtesy | North Texas Athletics

Outdoor track and field gearing up for its grand finale
April 19
14:15 2016

Reece Waddell | Senior Staff Writer

@ReeceWaddell15

All he does is win, win, win, no matter what.

The DJ Khaled tune has been the theme song for senior high jumper Eddie Wilcox in 2016. Whether it’s indoors or out, Wilcox has a knack for bringing home the hardware, and has helped steady the North Texas track and field team as it gears up for its grand finale of the 2016 season.

With the Conference USA Outdoor Championships less than a month away, the men are looking to build on their fourth place showing at the indoor championships in February.

Contrary to the men, the women are hungry for a chance at redemption. A 10th place finish at the indoor championships left many of the women eager to prove themselves – something senior sprinter and jumper Mona Landry said has been the women’s focus for the entirety of the outdoor season.

“I feel like we’ve been working really hard,” Landry said. “We’re trying to take every rep very seriously. We kind of leaned away from it in the indoor season, which is why we probably performed so poorly. We’re being more of a team, and I think that’s a reason the women can step up.”

High jumper and senior Eddie Wilcox lands in the sand pit while working on triple jumps at practice. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

High jumper and senior Eddie Wilcox lands in the sand pit while working on triple jumps at practice. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

One person who continues to step up and literally raise the bar is Wilcox. The Detroit native brought home the gold at the indoor championships as well as the Texas Christian University Invitational, the first outdoor meet of the season. No matter the occasion, Wilcox seems to rise to it.

“[He’s been] really big,” head coach Carl Sheffield said of Wilcox. “Everything he’s done, in the weight room, running, all the stuff he thought had nothing to do with his performance, he did this year.”

Even though Wilcox has been a regular on the podium for North Texas this season, he alone is not enough to elevate the Mean Green to its desired heights. Other members of the team know they will have to improve on their marks by the second week of May if North Texas is to finish among the top teams in C-USA.

Wilcox, though, has faith in his teammates’ abilities to do just that.

“All-around I feel like we can score a lot of points,” Wilcox said. “Come conference when everyone is about to peak, I feel like we’ll have some people drop some really nice times and throw some really good throws and jump really far.”

But in order to jump farther and run faster, some members of the track and field team needed to alter their routine and how they were treating their bodies.

Landry was one of those people and has altered her regimen by increasing the rigor of her workouts. Before practice began last week, she was gathering up teammates to rehearse relays, sprinting down the track several times only to go back to the starting line and do it again.

“The high intensity is going to help boost our performance competitively at the track,” Landry said. “Our times and everything are supposed to be way faster.”

North Texas is already reaping the rewards. Last weekend, senior distance runner Bryce McAndrew finished the men’s 5,000-meter with a time of 14:06:07. With the finish, McAndrew broke the North Texas outdoor track and field school record previously held by Ron Wakefield.

His record-setting performance, as well as the performances by the other distance runners, came as little surprise to his teammates.

“They always do really well, especially their seniors right now,” junior sprinter Collin Heard said of the distance runners. “They’re trying to leave everything on the track, and they’re doing a great job.”

As North Texas comes down the home stretch, many of the underclassman will rely heavily on their older, more seasoned counterparts. As two of 23 seniors on the team, Landry and Wilcox bring a poised attitude to the track – a quality the team has lacked in years past.

Sheffield believes this could be a difference maker come tournament time.

“You walk out there to that track right now, there are one, two, three, four seniors who have been with me for four years that understand how to get it done,” Sheffield said. “I feel confident that they are pulling that group along.”

Featured Image: Senior Kedron Sowells competed in the 4X300-meter relay at the NCAA West Preliminary in 2014-2015. Courtesy | North Texas Athletics 

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