By Alyssa Palfey, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It's officially indoor track season for the Nittany Lions as they head into their first meet of the season this weekend. Although it's only the beginning, the women's track and field team is looking to accomplish big things this season.
The women's team is reigning Indoor Big Ten Champions, as they won the conference last season at the Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio. The women are looking for nothing less than a repeat of that this year.
"This season I think the ultimate goal for our team is to go defend our Indoor Big Ten Championship. I think that we have a really good chance to do that this year with the people that are returning from last year and also our incoming freshman class," senior pole vaulter Hannah Mulhern said.
Although winning the indoor championship meet last year was great, the women say that winning the Indoor Big Ten again would be even sweeter if they did so alongside the men's team.
"It would be even more special if we did it on the same day as the boys because it was really cool that they won outdoors (Big Tens) and we won indoors (Big Tens). It'd be better if we all did it on the same day, I think that would be a major team goal," senior high jumper Megan McCloskey said.
Winning the Indoor Big Ten Championship is the ultimate goal for the women's team this year, but so is maintaining a great team atmosphere as the seniors prepare for their last indoor season.
"As a team, we're going to try to obviously go after the Big Ten Championship, we'd love to do that indoors and outdoors and at the same time as the boys would be awesome. I think just creating a really good team atmosphere this season. We have a lot of great talent and it would just be great to bring us all together and have really great team unity," senior sprinter Rachael DeCecco.
This indoor season, the women are traveling more than they are used to, and earlier on than usual. They travel to Clemson next weekend for their second meet of the season as the compete at the Clemson Invitational. The women say traveling this early will only benefit them more going into championship season in late February.
"I definitely think it's going to benefit us. I think it's exciting to get on the road early in the season. The benefits of that is really understanding what it feels like to travel and to not be at our home facility. We are pretty lucky to have a lot of meets at our home track, so it's good to get used to being at other tracks," McCloskey said. "The most important part is to get out of our comfort zones, so when Big Tens rolls around we will already know what it's like to be at away meets."
"I think that traveling a little bit more is really going to help us out. It really helps for us to get experience on the road early," Mulhern added. "I know in the past we haven't traveled as much, and our coaches think that may have affected us at the Big Ten Championship, so they're trying to get us out and traveling a little to get exposed to different facilities and competing against different people."
The Nittany Lions will also travel to the Spire Institute, where Big Tens are held, earlier in the season to get a feel of the environment there.
"Going to Spire for a meet will be great because that's where Big Tens is held, so we get a feel for the track meet atmosphere and to prepare a couple weeks before Big Tens," DeCecco said.
Even though clinching the Big Ten title is the main intention of the women this season, for the seniors, so is making it memorable.
"With it being my last season, you never know what the season is going to hold for you. I definitely just want to make this last season one to remember with my teammates," Mulhern said.