The Drive for Personal Best
By Ashley Johnson, Writing Intern
Hailed as one of the most physically demanding sports, track and field is often thought of as an individual endeavor. At Cal State San Marcos, track and field athletes rely on personal drive to perform at their best in order to contribute to the greater good of the team.
Student athletes in the 80-member squad dedicate themselves to intensive workouts year-round, drawing motivation from teammates who share the experience of rigorous endurance, strength and mental training.
“This sport highlights the abilities of the human body,” said Coach Steve Scott, former US Olympian and head coach of the CSUSM track and field team. “What you can do physically as an individual is very different and can be extremely impressive. With any team sport, you have someone on your team backing you up. In track and field, there’s no one to cover you. So if you make a mistake, or have a bad race, there’s no one else, just you. It’s very individualistic and very revealing of a person’s true character and worth ethic.”
Historically, each year more than two-dozen Cougars qualify for nationals. This year’s national meet will feature prominent student-athletes from the team who have exceeded their own expectations.
Kelly Thompson, a two-time track and field All-American as well as a three-time All-American in cross country, holds one of the fastest times in the 5000 meters. She recently became the school’s first-ever indoor track All-American when she placed second in the 3000 meters at the NAIA Indoor National Championships in February.
Amber Rosario, a three-time All-American, recently shattered the school record in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.91 seconds, the second-fastest time in the nation this season. She also qualified for the national meet with a time of 24.24 in the 200-meter dash at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational.
Mesa College transfer student Maurice Strickland has been a standout on the men’s side. His time of 14.46 in the 110-meter hurdles is seventh-fastest in the country and he recently broke a seven-year-old school record by registering 6,557 total points in the 10-event decathlon at the Mt. Sac Relays.
“I try to instill in my team the importance of good work ethic,” said Coach Scott. “I want them to be hard workers and dedicated to this sport, and learn to support each other. While track is very much an individual endeavor, it’s imperative to support the entire team because everyone is working just as hard at their own event.”
Despite the inherent individuality of track and field competition, any team is only as good as the sum of its parts. Each finish by an athlete has a certain number of points tied to it, and those points combine to help make up the team score.
The goal this year is simple: improve as individuals and, in turn, the team will improve as well.
“That’s what we’ve been trying to accomplish this season,” added Coach Scott. “We have great athletes who have high expectations not only for themselves, but for the team as a whole, and we’ll need everybody to contribute their personal best.”
A Photo Finish
See how the Cougars performed at Nationals by visiting www.csusmcougars.com.
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