Alec Tebben | Echo
The men's track and field team took second place overall at the Emory Invitational last weekend, March 22-23. The squad faced 28 other teams in a competitive first meet of the outdoor season.
"It was very competitive, and our athletes were able to compete in just about every event we were in, if not be among the best in that event," head coach Rod Waters said.
Several factors helped the team succeed in this meet.
One was that the team earned points all throughout the meet.
"We had points everywhere," Junior Caleb Anthony said. "Throws, jumps, sprints, all the way through, and that's what got us where we were. It wasn't just like a bunch of three or four first places."
Waters attributed some of the success to the culture on the team, including the way the upperclassmen serve as positive examples.
Waters said the team has great seniors and upperclassmen in general.
"They display a lot of courage, a lot of fight, a lot of dedication, and then our underclassmen see that, and they want to raise their level of competition and competitive spirit and we're able to compete at a high level week in and week out," Waters said.
The location was also beneficial. The competition was held at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. The team enjoyed fair weather there, which is always nice, especially for an event taking place over spring break.
Emory boasted an impressive athletic complex, with a tall stadium, lap pools, basketball courts, and even a rock-climbing tower providing a conspicuous backdrop for the event. But most importantly, the team found a very quality track waiting for them, something not always common in the Midwest.
"It's kind of crazy to explain," freshman Matt Sakeuh said. "When you run on a fast track, you just know it,"
Sakeuh and Anthony said the track definitely helped their performance, especially on the 4x400-meter relay on Saturday.
Because the meet was the first of the outdoor season, many individuals went into it trying to figure out where they stood. But as the meet progressed, the Taylor squad also realized where they stood as a team among so many other teams. By the time the 4x400 came around at the end of the meet, the whole team was there cheering.
"The four by four was a good icing on the top of the whole cake," Sakeuh said.