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Track teams fighting inexperience

first_imgAfter a successful outing at the Badger Open, the University of Wisconsin men’s and women’s track coaches spoke to media at a Monday press conference.Men’s coach Ed Nuttycombe was proud of his team’s performance in Saturday’s event and spoke about the challenge that lies ahead. His team will travel to the men’s Big Ten Indoor Championships this weekend, hosted by Penn State University. Nuttycombe addressed his team’s ability to compete in the championships as he makes the final preparations for the competitive event.“We feel we have done the things we need to do to get ready,” Nuttycombe said. “We are young, but we have some guys that are competing very well.”The team does have several high-quality athletes and they will look to showcase their abilities this weekend. Although Nuttycombe has a young team, he knows there is plenty of talent at his disposal.“We look forward to competing well against our Big Ten rivals,” Nuttycombe said. “The 400, 600 and 800 is an area that we can potentially do well, and maybe even surprise ourselves.”There are several athletes who are consistently performing at a high level, and there are specific events that Nuttycombe expects them to do well in.“We have a vaulter vaulting well, some long jumpers jumping well, our multi heptathletes are competing well,” Nuttycombe said. “The distance crew is always competing well, and we’re a little thinner than we have been number-wise, but quality-wise, we have some very good personnel up there.”While Nuttycombe is confident in his young team, the coach did acknowledge that it will be great challenge for his team to continue their unprecedented streak of championships, citing the competitive balance in the Big Ten.“There is probably four or five teams that on their given day could win or be top two or three,” Nuttycombe said. “The parity in the conference will definitely make it interesting.”The men’s team will certainly give it their all, but Nuttycombe reiterated the notion that this appears to be a transition year for his program.“This one will be a stretch,” Nuttycombe said. “We just do not have the numbers and depth that we have had in the past years.”Youth dominates women’s trackOn the women’s side, head coach Jim Stinzi talked about the youth he has been preparing for this stretch of the season. In a similar situation as the men’s team, Stinzi’s squad is comprised of a large group of freshman, and the athletes have experienced some growing pains. Adding to the situation, a number of injuries have hurt the team’s depth.“This season has been a bit of a struggle for us,” Stinzi said. “We needed to look to the future and redshirt some of our better seniors.”Most of Stinzi’s young team will enter the Big Ten Indoor Championships for the first time, but they have gained valuable experience along the way.“The great thing about track and field is that you get the championship-style meets early on,” Stinzi said. “They have had the big meet experience.”Although still at an early stage in their careers, some of Stinzi’s freshmen have performed at a very high level over the course of the season.“Dorcas Akinniyi and Jessica Flax — two freshman in the pentathlon — are both ranked highly in the Big Ten,” Stinzi said. “Jordan Helgren is one of the top triple jumpers in the Big Ten and really one of the top freshman triple jumpers in the country.”These women will look to continue their success through the remainder of the season, and Stinzi made sure to tell them how crucial they are to his young team.“We have let them know how important their individual role is to determining how well the team does this weekend,” Stinzi said.last_img read more