UMPI Track and Field team sets new records in strong start to the season, focused on continued success.

Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 7:05 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - The UMPI Track and Field team had a strong start to their season last week, setting new school records and achieving personal bests. Looking to build on that success, the team is focused on stringing together a great season for the program.

Joseph Tuulima, UMPI Sophomore:” I’m excited, i think everyone’s put in like a bunch of hard work and were all just eager to show off what we put both during the season and in the off season“.

The Owls started their track and field season with a bang at Bridgewater State University, despite rough weather conditions, by breaking 3 school records and achieving several personal bests. The athletes’ say their success can be attributed to their positive mindset leading up to the meet, as well as the guidance provided by their coaches.

Joseph Tuulima, UMPI Sophomore:” i got to owe it all to like the coaching, i came in like no experience, so everything i do is on them. I’m hoping to improve off that though, it was a little rainy, hopefully better conditions equal better results. But other then that i’m just looking forward to it”.

Katelyn Osborne, UMPI Junior: " Something I’ve been working on is mentality. Running is a huge mental sport, so i mean you’re doing constant laps around the track and its really painful, any runner can tell you that, its all about getting up in here and telling yourself you can do it and you will do it and then usually you achieve, and that’s something I’ve been working on throughout all of my years of running but especially this season”.

The Owls’ team this season is benefiting from increased numbers and experienced assistant coaches, which allows for more individualized focus on each athlete.

Chris Smith, Head Coach: " One thing that’s improved alot is i’ve had Leo Kashian from Caribou as an assistant coach in jumps and sprints, but he’s well-versed in everything so he and i kind of double-teamed on alot of things, and i handled the mid and longer distance runners. But we also have added Ron McAtee whose a very experienced throws coach, he’s originally from Caribou, lives in Presque Isle now. So, with the three coaches now, were able to dedicate a little bit more time to the athletes, we have a lot of more expertise here now, so that’s going to benefit us greatly”.

Despite the challenging road ahead, as the Track and Field team competes in each meet leading up to the Conference Championships at the end of April, there is a strong sense of optimism among the athletes. .

Jospeh Tuulima, UMPI Sophomore:” I’m hoping to place first or second in the conference meet again, and I’m hoping a couple of other kids do too, i just don’t want to be last in the meet as a team cause we (are) a smaller team, so we give up a lot of positions and a lot of spots but hopefully we do well enough individually where it just builds the points and puts us higher”.

Katelyn Osborne, UMPI Junior:” i am most looking forward to seeing how we perform, because last year we were a pretty small team and this year we have a lot more people, a lot more abilities and skills. We didn’t have a jumping team last year and we do this year. so i really think we can make our way up there”.

According to Coach Chris Smith, the Track and Field team is brimming with natural talent and a strong drive to improve not just for the current season but for the long haul. Such a combination is a huge asset to any program seeking to transform themselves into tough competitors in the conference.

Jonathon Eigenmann, Newssource sports.