Capital Track & Field Takes its Place in the Starting Blocks for 2019 By: Sean Neidig, sports information graduate assistant

COLUMBUS, Ohio – As the calendar turned over to 2019, members of Capital University Track & Field knew that the season they had been preparing for for months was just around the corner and a grueling five-month competition season was just days away. Capital’s first taste of action will come just up the road in Westerville in the Otterbein Invite hosted by Otterbein University on Saturday, Jan. 12.

The Crusaders will compete in seven indoor meets, including the Ohio Athletic Conference Indoor Championships, before moving on to the outdoor season.

“Going through testing and things like that, we’re farther along than where we have been in the past,” said fourth-year head coach Hannah Weiss. “Everyone from top to bottom is really working hard and it’s an exciting place to be.”

Distance runners Mackenzie Meyers (Ashville, Ohio/Teays Valley) and Larkin Joseph (New Philadelphia, Ohio/New Philadelphia) are the only two seniors on the women’s team as well, although there are seven accomplished juniors as well.

Do-it-all athlete Taylor Manivanh (Grove City, Ohio/Central Crossing) will compete in her third track season in 2019 after qualifying for the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in the triple jump and finishing 17th in the nation. She won the OAC title in the triple jump with a program-record mark of 11.75 meters and came in second in the 60-meter dash at the championships as well. Manivanh was also named All-Region by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association in the triple jump, long jump and 60-meter dash for her performances during the 2018 indoor season.

“I knew I was going to be better (last year) but I didn’t think I’d do that well,” Manivanh said. “I was so nervous but also really wanted it and it was really satisfying to hit that mark.”

“She’s a very good athlete and she’s a very versatile athlete,” said Weiss. “This year we do want to focus her more specifically on jumps so that when she goes to nationals again she’s going to have a more focused experience when she gets there. Things like the 60-meter, the 200-meter and the 100-meter races all compliment that goal really well.”

Manivanh and fellow junior Olivia Quinter (Fort Loramie, Ohio/Fort Loramie) were also part of the All-OAC 4x200-meter relay that placed third at the conference championship.

“We’re going to have a strong relay team again and team in general just because of the way [last year’s seniors] taught us to be connected,” Quinter said. “Relay teams are not always about the team that’s the fastest but about the team that works the best together.”

Multi athlete Emily Hilt (Delaware, Ohio/Buckeye Valley), who set the program pentathlon record last year as a sophomore with 2,908 points at the Ohio Northern University Last Chance Meet, will be a junior and aiming at higher goals.

On the men’s side, sophomore thrower Josh Miller (Botkins, Ohio/Botkins) is returning after a promising freshman campaign in which he achieved seven top-five finishes and only finished outside of the top-10 once in the shot put. He also recorded the fifth-best shot put throw in program history at the All-Ohio Indoor Championships, a mark of 15.17 meters.

“It was a rough start to the year actually from my perspective but looking back and reflecting over the year, it was definitely a good start (to my career),” Miller said. “I would have liked to see some bigger marks and to have pushed some more boundaries but I think this year with another notch on my belt it’s going to be a great year.”

“I know [Josh] wanted more from last season but he had a very good season,” Weiss added. “His consistency and his training have been really good over the summer so it’s just a matter of making sure that he doesn’t let his goals get in the way of his performance along the way. Josh has a ton of upside. He definitely has all of the right pieces and not just the physical pieces but the mentality for someone to be really good and be good earlier rather than later.”

Miller stated that his goals include hitting the 17-meter mark in the shot put, win the OAC and become an All-American, all things he believes are attainable despite the fact that Miller believes that the conference is as competitive as it has ever been in his events.

Veteran jumper John Seman (Ashland, Ohio/Hillsdale) is one of only three seniors on the roster this season and is the only returning men’s athlete to have earned All-OAC status last year. Seman placed third in the high jump at the OAC Indoor Championships with a personal record-tying leap of 1.91 meters.

“Regardless of what program you’re in or what athletic event you’re in, it’s always shocking to realize that you’re in your last year and that this is the last hurrah and last go-around,” Seman said. “Looking at my start to where I’ve finished, I have definitely seen a positive change in the team from the first few years.”

That more positive atmosphere has not only led to a more beneficial environment in terms of the physical training but also the mental preparation, something Seman has learned can be more important than how high you can jump or how fast you can run.

“Something I’m really looking forward to is working on is the mental aspect and trying to stay consistent throughout the entire season,” Seman said. “You can always get faster and stronger but one big thing that I’ve learned is to try to put pressure on people in the meet but also outside of the meet. In practice you need to try to replicate the intensity during meets and you need to try to put that pressure upon yourself in a positive manner. You can’t beat yourself down over mistakes or missed jumps or missed throws.”

With only three seniors, the men’s team will be led by youth in most events. The team also features only one junior while boasting six sophomores and nine freshmen.

With all of the youth on both teams, Weiss is excited that the athletes are learning to be more process-oriented than results-oriented because they do not yet know what personal marks to hold themselves to.

“They’re definitely holding each other to a higher standard collectively than what we’ve had in the past,” Weiss said. “They’ve been more cohesive and make it more of a team sport.”

Working on the mental aspect of the sport has been an individual and team activity and the team also worked on their goals through a forecasting exercise.

“We pulled up all of the results from previous years at conference and said don’t just tell me what place you want to get at conference but show me who is going to earn the points based on what the totals have been in the past,” Weiss said. “The thing I’m excited about is that they see where the points are coming from and if they are not coming from themselves, how are they going to be able to contribute to the team in a positive way? And for those that are saying that they are going to score those points for the team, it puts a bit of a target on your back that you have to be aware of. It’s a good thing that you think about it now and not just the weekend going into the meet.”

Before getting to the OAC Indoor Championships though, the Crusaders will travel to five meets over the next two months and will host two in The Capital Center Fieldhouse. After beginning the year at the Otterbein Invite this weekend, the team will head south to Marietta College to compete in the Pioneer Open. Capital’s first home meet, the Jessica Starks Open, will be held on Saturday, Jan. 26. The Joe Banks Invitational hosted by Ohio Northern University and All-Ohio Indoor Championships hosted by Otterbein precede Capital’s second home meet, the Rick Meindl Last Call, on Feb. 15. The Rick Meindl is the final meet before the conference championships on Feb. 22 and 23, again at Ohio Northern.


Joe Maiorana, Impact Action Sports Photography

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a copyright violation, please follow the DMCA section in the Terms of Use.