The CU track and field squads will take their first giant leap in to the outdoor season at the Potts Invitational in Boulder.
Events for outdoor track and field begin on Friday with combined events and pole vault, followed by throws, additional combined events, and running events on Saturday.
Head coach Mark Wetmore anticipates big changes taking place following a dismal indoor campaign.
“Every year in transition from indoors to outdoors a coach expects certain changes,” Wetmore said. “Athletes returned from exhausted eligibility to renewed eligibility. There are potentially practical changes coming… there are people who should’ve contributed indoors and they didn’t, so its our job as a coaching staff to figure out why.”
Wetmore referred in particular to the team’s performance at the end of the indoor season at the Big 12 Championships.
Both the men’s and women’s squads finished last place there, with the lowest combined score at the Big 12 meet in CU history.
It would turn out to be CU’s final major competition of the 2010 indoor season.
The team’s faltering performance even left a bad taste in the mouths of students around campus.
Ian Payling, a 20-year-old junior political science major, said the team’s poor results are a blow to CU athletics.
“It’s a disappointment that the CU track team has fallen off,” Payling said. “They used to be a historic program and I’m disappointed one of the positives of our athletic program is turning into a negative.”
Another student who was shocked to hear how CU’s indoor season ended was Michael Nevius, a 23-year-old senior religious studies major.
“Boulder is supposed to be kind of known for running,” Nevius said, citing that he himself competed in track and field in his younger days. “So it’s surprising that a track team from a town like Boulder, known for its training marathoners and olympic athletes, can do so poorly.”
Following the Big 12 meet, even Wetmore voiced his own disappointment.
He said he let his athletes know the results of the conference meet were unacceptable at such a prestigious track and field institution as CU’s.
“We’re not here to score so few points, the university doesn’t spend the money that they spend
so we can perform like a club team,” Wetmore said. “[The athletes] know that.”
Unlike the pressure-packed Big 12 championship, the Potts Invitational is a semi-formal meet, with some athletes competing unattached.
Still, Wetmore says its importance is underrated.
“To some degree every competition is a step in a long-term process. This meet this weekend, while it is less formal certainly than the Big 12, is a big step. Our javelin throwers come out of the woodwork, our hammer throwers come out of the woodwork.”
No matter the event, the Buffs will certainly welcome any points they can get with open arms.
The first steps toward a comeback for track and field begin Saturday at 10 a.m. at Potts Field in the East Campus.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Gino Figlio at Gino.firstname.lastname@example.org.