The NC State track team competed at the Raleigh Relays meet at Dail Track Complex and made its mark with 10 medalists, including five victories.
The showing was a strong one considering the field contained many different universities from across the country, as well as some unaffiliated athletes. Some events did not feature a Wolfpack participant, but those that did usually saw them finish in the top half. The meet acted as a home meet for the Wolfpack.
“It was a home meet, yes, but you still have to prepare yourself,” said sophomore Ja’Von Douglas, who participated in the men’s 100-meter run. “You have to stay hydrated, stretch the same way, train the same way.”
On Friday, senior Janel Pate finished third in the women’s long jump with a mark of 19 feet, 4.25 inches. Freshman Jamar Davis also did well in the men’s long jump; he placed second and posted a mark of 23 feet, 11.75 inches. Senior Lauren Evans took home the Wolfpack’s first gold in women’s shot put with a distance of 51 feet, 1.5 inches. Junior Philip Hall also got a bronze medal in the 1500-meter run, notching a time of 3:44.73.
Saturday saw four Wolfpack victories and six total medalists. Sophomore Michelle Cobb won the women’s triple jump, jumping 40 feet, 8.25 inches. Her mark was four inches farther than the second-place finisher.
“I worked my butt off in preseason and pushed myself in every workout,“ Cobb said. “I just tried to focus on techniques that I know and stay relaxed during the competition.”
The field events in particular require impeccable technique to succeed. While they still require elite athleticism, bad technique can take a great performance and wipe it away in the form of an errant throw or a foul. This is especially true in the long and triple jump, as one slightly suboptimal step during the approach can easily ruin an attempt.
“When it comes to triple jump, basically everything has to be right from the time you start your approach until the time you hit the board,” Cobb said. “You have to be consistent, you have to be mentally there as well. You could easily push too hard, then get your spot wrong and scratch.”
Senior Quashawn Cunningham won the men’s 200-meter run with a blazing time of 20.92 seconds. Freshman McKenzie Long followed suit in the women’s 200m with a victory in 23.58 seconds. The final victory was by the men’s 4x100-meter relay team, which finished in exactly 40 seconds. The sprint races, as usual, were all extremely close, especially the men’s 200m; the difference in time between first place and fourth place was a mere 0.15 seconds.
“A good block start can change the whole race, and so can a bad one,” Douglas said. “You’ve got to stay on top of technique because it’s a short race.”
Rounding out Saturday's results, the women’s 4x100m team placed second with a time of 46.10 seconds, and senior Shannon Patterson joined teammate Cunningham on the podium in the men’s 200m with a time of 21.05.
The Wolfpack track teams will compete again April 11-13 at the UNC-Charlotte Invitational.