Running towards victory: track and field team on path to championship

As the arrival of spring nears and with it, the transition into spring sports, and the winter sports teams will soon begin wrapping up their seasons.

For the indoor track and field team, Feb. 22 marks the event they have been training for all season: conference championships.

“I think our team will perform great as a whole,” said junior runner Jasmine O’Neill in an email interview.  “We will be racing against people in our conference, so our confidence should be well above normal.”

It will be the first and last chance of the season for Guilford to compete against Old Dominion Athletic Conference teams. It will also be the last major opportunity for athletes to qualify for the Division III Indoor Track and Field National Championships.

“I believe there are multiple athletes poised to qualify for Nationals,” said Head Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Coach Danny Cash in an interview.

Taking place at Liberty University, the conference championships will be the first non-invitational  meet of the year. Since the majority of the ODAC is in Virginia, Guilford has competed against Division I and II schools within North Carolina.

“We have been working extremely hard in practice,” said O’Neill. “There’s a lot of positive energy and support that is constantly circulating in practice and at track meets from our amazing coaches.”

The results are definitely beginning to show.

On Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Kent Taylor Invitational hosted by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Guilford athletes set school records left and right.

Junior Chad Norton set the school record in the one mile by 2.65 seconds with a time of 4:22.42. Junior Andris Goncarovs, at 4:22.51, was neck and neck with Norton, while Junior David Cason was close behind with a time of 4:27.76.

The women’s 4x400m relay team, composed of junior Rachel Flint and sophomores Emily Cash, Pasangi Perera and Jasmine O’Neill, bested the school record by over three seconds with a time of 4:40.59.

In addition, there were a number of season and personal records broken among the multiple school records

“I am so proud of the athletes for the team’s accomplishments,” said Assistant Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Coach Kimberly Cash. “I am incredibly confident that the team will continue to show progress through the end of the indoor season and on into the outdoor season.”

Junior football player Alex Smith jumps for the track team during the off-season.

“It’s weird going from having multiple coaches encouraging you all at once to two talking to you one at a time,” said Smith in an email interview.

When asked about his transition from the field to the track, Smith said that he was surprised by the “comfortable camaraderie” of the team that differs so vastly from his football family.

With an individualized sport like track and field, no one can make the team feel more like a family than “Momma and Daddy Cash.”