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Track and field teams look to dominate the Northeast

The Northeastern University men’s and women’s track and field teams open the 2016 outdoor season this week with the goal of eclipsing last year’s success.

The men’s squad comes into 2016 as the defending Colonial Athletic Association champions, having won the conference title for the first time in program history in 2015. The women’s team is riding the momentum of its indoor successes, including a New England Indoor Championships victory, and is hoping to turn that triumph into more outdoor wins.

We asked Cathrine Erikson, director of track and field and cross country and last year’s CAA men’s track and field coach of the year, about her expectations for the outdoor season and the events in which she expects the Huskies to excel.

In which events do you feel Northeastern is particularly strong?

“There are many track and field programs in the country that invest only in one or two areas. However, I have always believed that a truly successful track and field program has representation from all areas: sprinters, hurdlers, jumpers, throwers, multi-eventers, and distance student-athletes. We have recruited in a very balanced way and I expect all areas of our program and all of our student-athletes to contribute to the overall success of the team, in addition to having the desire to support each other on and off the track.”

What roles do you see the upperclassmen and veterans playing this season?

“I really would like to see our upperclassmen on both the women’s and men’s sides become more vocal with the underclassmen and vice versa. Our rookies have so much talent, but I have seen the freshmen and sophomores stick closely to their contemporaries in their respective recruiting classes. I feel there are opportunities to learn from each other and push each other in different ways.”

There were many top performances during the indoor season on both the men’s and women’s sides, from school records falling to the women’s team winning the Indoor New England Championships. How do you carry that momentum into the outdoor season?

“We have an expectation of excellence and when we recruited many of these student-athletes, we told them we wanted the Northeastern track and field program to be the best in the Northeast, to start. Winning the New England Championships is our standard and we hope to continue to improve and springboard our indoor success into the outdoor season and the CAA Championships. We believe our women’s program is getting closer to where our men’s program was last year in the quest for a CAA championship.”

Who are some Huskies you are expecting big things from this season?  

“Keep an eye out for the men’s 4×100 meter relay, Jared Lane in the 110-meter hurdles, Kyle Darrow in the long jump, and Paul Duffey in the 800 and 1,500.

On the women’s side, Nicole Genard qualified for the NCAA championship in the javelin last year while Jaci Briggs qualified in the pole vault. Jordan O’Dea and Lucy Young have also qualified for the NCAAs in distance events. I expect Amy Piccolo will make her mark in the 800 in addition to our women’s 4×400 meter relay.

As far as events that I hope we improve on, I am excited about our marked improvement in the women’s 400 hurdles in addition to our throwing group this year.”

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