Setting the Bar: UMPI Track and Field Hopeful in Year Two

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PRESQUE ISLE, Me. (WAGM) - Anytime you implement something new and give it a try there will probably be some growing pains. But the growing pains are good, you learn from the mistakes and you build, so that when you do it again, there's growth. That's exactly what the UMPI Track and Field team is trying to achieve in the second year of the program.

"It's super exciting, it only goes uphill from here, it's kind what I've been telling these guys," Senior Sam Carpenter said. "We're a new program and it's very exciting you know just seeing everyone come to practice I think it's a real good experience."

Excitement is the key word and that's what Coach Christopher Smith is trying to instill in the team.

"What we wanted to do more than anything was generate enthusiasm to get out numbers up a little bit," Smith said. "Which we've done we got a number of new athletes this year."

One of those athletes is sophomore Margaret Dickinson. She also plays volleyball in the fall.

"Graduating high school I didn't know if I would be able to do multiple sports," Dickinson said. "To be able to do different sports and have the coaches allow you to combine your schedules and make sure that you can be a student athlete is awesome."

The results speak for themselves. In Dickinson's first ever track meet this past weekend down in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, she rewrote the record book in discus, shot put and javelin.

"I didn't really know that I had, I had an idea that I might have it was something that I was hoping to accomplish," Dickinson said. "I didn't know I'd do it in the first meet but it really sets the bar for me to go further."

One of the bonuses of being a part of a new program is that the record books are constantly being rewritten, which is a nice little motivator for Sophomore Paul Kaplan.

"That's really cool because you know the better you do, the more times your name is going to be on the board," Kaplan said.

Kaplan is one of the team captains for the soccer team and much like Dickinson, appreciates a college like UMPI that allows him to be a dual-sport athlete.

"It's pretty awesome, I mean, I'm able to stay fit the whole year and I'm able to make ton of friends through the two teams," Kaplan said.

The enthusiasm is there, the camaraderie is there, but now, according to Carpenter, it's time to make some noise in the NAC.

"I think we need to make a statement this year. Not a lot of people had expectations for us last year," Carpenter said. "I think we surprised them last year and this is our year to really shine."