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Indoor Track Visits Cornell For Upstate Challenge

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Indoor Track Visits Cornell For Upstate Challenge

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ALBANY, N.Y. – A week after hosting their only home meet of the year, the University at Albany men’s and women’s indoor track teams will head west to Cornell University on Saturday to compete in the Upstate Challenge.  UAlbany will compete against seven teams entirely from New York, including Cornell, Syracuse, and Binghamton.

“This is the second meet for the group that didn’t return early from the winter break,” said assistant coach Matt Jones.  “Some of the other athletes, like Kathryn Fanning, Silvia Del Fava, and John DeLallo, will be resting this week and instead undergo a two-week training block before their next competition.”

The two-week training blocks were a staple of the UAlbany cross county teams during the fall, primarily because the schedule was set up in such a way that saw two weeks between races.  With track meets taking place almost every week, the opportunity for the training blocks isn’t as prevalent.

“We’ll use the two-week blocks where they fit in,” said Jones.  “Maybe that will mean not running some athletes at a meet, or maybe there will be a time we have a week off, like between conference championships and IC4A’s/ECAC’s.”

The track at Cornell’s Barton Hall is the first flat track the UAlbany program has run on this year.  The facilities at both Penn State and the Armory featured banked tracks, which are more conducive to better performances.

“We’re going to Cornell this year because there are now conversions in place to measure times run on banked tracks compared to flat tracks, which will come into play for hitting qualifying standards,” said Jones. “In the 1,000, for example, the IC4A qualifying mark is 2:28.50 on a banked track.  But on a flat track, it’s only 2:30.6.  That may be an easier time to hit.  Plus, we can now safely run our athletes on a flat track without worrying about them having a great performance but still falling short of the qualifying standard, because the conversion will take care of that.”

The UAlbany athletes’ primary goal is to continue to hit qualifying marks for the conference championships, IC4A’s and ECAC’s, and potentially nationals.  The conference meet requires an athlete hit a qualifying mark to be able to compete, as do the other championship meets.

“Some of our men and women have hit standards for conference already,” said Coach Jones, “so for them, we’re looking to hit conference standards in secondary events, so that if something happens, or if we need them to double up at championships, we’ll have options.  And in the meantime, we’ll use those secondary events to work on fitness.  That can mean either turnover if they’re dropping down in distance from their primary event, or endurance if they’re moving up.”

“The fitness is important because at conference championships and beyond the athletes will have to run multiple rounds of their event,” Jones added.  “We need to train them to be able to handle that when the time comes.”

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