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By Alyssa Palfey, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With preseason starting last week, the Penn State track and field team is training and getting ready for the upcoming season.
GoPSUsports.com caught up with associate head coach, Erin Tucker, to get a preview of this year's track and field sprinters, hurdlers and relay runners.
This season will mark Tucker's second at Penn State, coming from a successful coaching career at his alma mater, the University of Florida.
Tucker is excited to see what comes from this season. On the women's side, he paid particular attention to sophomore, Keianna Albury. Coming from the Bahamas, Albury is a second-year sprinter, running the 60m, 100m and 200m dash along with both the 4x100m and 4x400m relays. Last season, she dealt with injuries, but Tucker notes how she is having a great fall and has her expectations set for the upcoming season.
Senior sprinter, Tichina Rhodes has put in some different training than she's used to, but Tucker thinks that's starting to pay off. Junior, Quenee Dale, is at a good place right now and is expected to do some really good things.
"Both of those young ladies really worked hard over the summer and you can actually tell their fitness level is up, stuff their doing at practice is a hundred times better than they were last year, so I'm really looking forward to seeing those two young ladies do some good things," he said.
Junior Deja Davis has been leading the way in training for freshman, Kiara Lester. The pair has worked well together throughout the fall and Tucker is excited to see what they will bring to the table this year.
On the men's side, Tucker moved sophomore Sam Reiser to the 400-600 group.
"Sam is killing it. He's had one of the best falls that I've had anyone in that group in my coaching career, so I'm excited about what he's going to be able do this season," Tucker said.
School record-holder in the 60m, junior Xavier Smith, is already showing a promising future for potential points at the national level this year. Freshman Darien Williams has been training well and alongside Smith during this preseason.
"They've all been running well in practice and making that adjustment," said Tucker. "I know they hate what we do on Tuesdays and Fridays, but it's going to pay off for them in the long run."
Quarter miler newcomer, Tyreek Mathis is already showing that he'll be an asset to the team this year.
Both the women and the men sprinters, hurdlers and relay runners are continuing their preseason in preparation for their first meet in a little over a month. The indoor season will start off with the annual intrasquad Blue-White on Dec. 10th.