The Castleton University track & field teams embark on the indoor portion of the schedule on Saturday, Dec. 7 at the Smith College Invitational in Northampton, Mass.
"We've always looked at the first two meets as preseason," said second-year head coach Jay Condon. "Coming back after that really gets everything going."
Twelve different program records came down in the indoor season a year ago and the team is looking to continue the success in 2019-20.
Junior Lydia Maier holds three individual indoor records, all accomplished in 2018-19. She accomplished the low-time in the 400, 500, and 600-meter runs with times of 1:03.30, 1:23.05, and 1:41.72, respectively. She was also part of a 4x200-meter relay team that broke the team's record at 1:56.38. Emily Maier also returns for her senior season as the record-holder in the 60-meter hurdles, accomplished in January of 2019, at 10.64 seconds.
On the men's side, Dakota Garrow set the school record in the 500-meter dash in a swift 1:12.74 a year ago and returns for his second season. Trevor Rose also re-joins the team as the program's record-holder in the indoor shot put at 13.81 meters. In addition, Nate Gilcris shattered the high jump record (1.95 meters) in the 2019 outdoor season and will begin his first season of indoor competition this year with eyes set on the current indoor record in the event: 1.73 meters.
Last season, the women placed seventh and the men were eighth in Castleton's first time at the Little East Conference (LEC) Championships, as part of a combined meet with the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC). Six combined athletes attended their respective NCAA Division III New England Regional Championships across both seasons, with Lydia Maier and Gilcris the lone returners. "We want to see if we can get that up to 10, maybe 12, this year," said Coach Condon.
With larger roster sizes, the emphasis this year is on competing and putting up more team points. "We want to make sure that we are doubling or tripling the point totals we had from last year."
The Spartans take a break following the Saints Holiday Relays hosted by St. Lawrence University on Dec. 8. After three consecutive meets at Middlebury College (1/12, 1/16, 1/23), Castleton will travel to the Panther Invitational at Plymouth State University on Feb. 2. Plymouth State will also host the Little East Conference Championships on Feb. 16. Qualified athletes will then compete at the New England Division III Regional Championships at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Feb. 23.
The schedule will shift outdoors on March 23 for the season-opening Wesleyan Spring Classic.