By Sidney Corniff, Contributor |
We caught up with CCNY Track and Field head coach Hugh Reid after the ECAC Championships last weekend at the New Balance Track and Field at The Armory to speak about how his team performed and his expectations for the outdoor season coming up.
Sid: How was the overall feel the last two days? How do you think things went?
Hugh: I think the last two days was sort of bittersweet in the sense that the team had really high expectations for coming into ECAC’s and although they had great performances when you set the bar for yourself extremely high in terms of coming out to break school records and you throw, or you jump or you run and it’s seven meters off of what you expected or you got that one throw and it was a foul or you know you put forth the effort in the trials and it was really great but the finals was slightly off somewhere.
Even though you got success it’s not the level of success that we want. We expect every time that we come out to set a new record, to set a new personal best, to set a new goal. That’s something that we’ve always done, we’ve always strived for that so the sense has been kind of bitter sweet.
We’re happy we’re here but we didn’t get what we came for and those were the performances. And I think it’s going to sit with most of them except for maybe Peter and Ashley. Most of those guys are going to be coming back next year so this is something that’s going to fuel them to do that much better now that the season ended.
Although the performances on paper are right above what they’ve been doing all year, some of them I think just need some practice to put out these magnificent performances. It was decent but not stellar.
Sid: You guys had a lot of momentum coming into the ECAC’s from the CUNYAC tournaments. But of all the times to have a bad day, this seemed to be the one. How disappointing is it for you guys that you sort of fell short [of the nationals]?
Hugh: Well…I guess it’s how you frame it. In track and field unlike most the other sports if you give 110% of what you put out there isn’t a letdown. I don’t think anybody’s on a letdown, for example Peter ran his best time for a season a 6.92, and going into nationals he ran a 6.94 so there’s not much of a letdown in terms of the performance.
Steve’s personal record is 15.8 and that was a 15.4 so it’s like they are right there on it. That’s better than what he did at conference. But when you throw 17’s at practice you sort of expect you know to get 17 or better. If you have your heel hit the white part and it takes away your 17 you sort of get that ugh feeling.
Melissa came out and set a new school record. Was it the best race that she put together? Yes. Are there things that she can correct? Yes. And so, that will fuel her next time.
Peter still has a shot when it comes to nationals, it’s so weird because you fall somewhere on the list and then you wait for everyone in the country to run, then you find out where you are. And if you get in 16, you’re in, and right now he’s tied for 15th so now you’re biting your nails all night hoping that somebody else somewhere doesn’t run a thousandth of a second faster than you did and knock you out.
So, it’s the ups and downs.
Unlike football, or basketball or one of those things where you put the points in, it is what it is.
Track and field is a lot about trying to put out your performance, but then you’ve got to wait and see what everybody else puts out, then determine where you fall.
I’m not disappointed in the year, we broke records, we set out to make history and that’s exactly what these guys did. Everyone that was here is a school record holder or a freshman record holder, conference MVP.
This is the cream of the crop.
The ECAC’s is one of those regions where it’s the best of everyone. And sometimes ECAC’s is harder than nationals. The only people that aren’t here at ECAC’s are the people from Wisconsin. And pretty much that’s nationals. You think of it like, the other conferences their kids didn’t even get in. So this is a blessing. I just wish that we were able to write down a goal on paper, and say, this is what it is, this is what I want.
We achieved pretty much everything we wrote on the list. But anyone who knows they are a real champion, knows that you never complete everything on the list. You always have to have something that you’ve missed that you go back after for the next time. So I think that’s going to fuel them.
Their better events are coming outdoors, so this is just going to motivate them I think that much more. Ashley’s waiting for the discus, Steven, the discus.
Melissa’s so new to it that any and everything she does is going to be fantastic. Every event she touches, she breaks a record. I’m just really excited to see the hammer, and to see the discus and to see sprints because I think it’s going to be a phenomenal season. I’m hoping it’s not over, but if it is, we did a great job, but if it isn’t, then there’s more to come.
Sid: Everyone I’ve talked to talked about the indoor being the preseason to the outdoor. And everyone seems juiced for the outdoor season. What would you say the general atmosphere is like around the program as we draw closer and closer to the outdoor season?
Hugh: They’re juiced just because it’s just different events.
Indoors is sort of limited, outdoors you’ve got a bunch. So those people whose starts are slightly slower than other people have a lot to look forward to because now you’ve got that extra 40 meters to really run. The school record is like 10.6 and Peter ran 10.7 last year and this is the best he’s ever run a 60 meters. So, he’s going after a record. Steve is going after records that were set in the 60’s. So if you broke it indoors, then you’re looking for a record outdoors.
They’re all juiced because it seemed as though the season ended before we really got going. And that’s a good thing, you don’t want to peak twice, and I really don’t feel like they’ve really peaked. We didn’t plan it that way.
The focus is always to win championships, to get to nationals but I feel like anywhere in track in field the true test of the team is those 19, 20, 21 events that you have outdoors. It’s about how you balance and make that transition. We’re dominant both indoors and outdoors, but there are more events for Steve to do, there are more event’s for Harrison, for Ashley to do outdoors.
The multi is now from seven events to ten events.
The athletes here, they love to compete.The more you give them, the more they’re excited about it. Outdoor you got the 100, the 200, and the 4×1; there’s relay’s specifically for sprinters. It’s a lot to look forward to.
Like I said, this was our year to make history, we set out to do that from the beginning and so there’s a lot of unfinished business when it comes to outdoors from last year. And I think that too is fueling them because they worked so hard indoors to be prepared to take down what they missed last year at outdoors.
We broke records, yes, but CTC’s is a big goal, we won a trophy.
This year we missed by a couple of points, which is going to fuel for outdoors. This year we got back Lea, who is the all-time leading scorer in CUNY history. We got freshmen who are just phenomenal that slightly missed Leah records when she was a freshman. When you got four-deep in an event, or five-deep in an event there’s a reason to look forward to outdoors.
Plus, they’ve only had a week off. So they are still in that competitive championship kind of feel.
The season is short so everything is important. And I think that’s what they are really looking forward to. I think everyone’s happy about how indoors went but knowing that there is that six weeks where they can really shine, I think that’s what everyone’s really juiced about.
I know there’s more great things to come.
Sid: You mentioned unfinished business…Exactly, what again?
Hugh: Last year the women finished second or third — it wasn’t what we wanted.
It seems that every other year we get a second place. This year they’re coming back to get their title back.
Leah’s the elite female athlete at CUNY. Indoors, she’s the only female that’s won three titles. Our team is going for titles, that’s what they want.
But at the same time, there are freshman records that need to be broken that people just missed last year. There are upper-classmen who are going to be graduating, who didn’t get the mark that they wanted so they are going after that.
And then the men — last year we set the records for most consecutive wins for outdoors, nobody recognized it. Now they’re going to make a statement so that you know we are the best team at CUNY.
That I’m looking forward to for sure.
I think that the whole feel of the program is with them.
Track has always been the staple, not just for City College but for most sports. If you look at the All-American’s and the people who’ve been holding the conference up, it’s always been track with all these All-American’s and they never get the recognition.
We’re the type of team that if somebody’s going to get the story, somebody’s going to get in the spotlight, we want to be in the spotlight with them. Especially with the seniors that we have now.
You’ve got Paul who’s like the figure head of the track program and Paul graduates. And now we’ve got those people who are underclass who’s going to step up. Every week they win rookie of the week, athlete of the week, ECAC’s awards.
They are hungry for more, that I’m excited about. I think that’s just going to improve the awareness of the track and field, awareness of sports in general on campus, in the conference, get the conference some recognition and on the national level.
We’re ranked one of the top teams in the country. Nobody knows. I think it’s a lot to prove, and I think they’re up to the task.
Sid: Because of the all the recent success that the program has had, would you say that anything short of a title would be considered a failure this year?
Hugh: You know what’s so funny…We don’t lose.
Not that I’m being cocky or anything like that. We worked too hard and prepared too hard to think about not winning. If there is an error or a mistake by one person, you’ve got teammates to pick you up.
Some of these other teams, at other schools, they’ve got this one-trick pony, and when so and so breaks their foot, it’s over.
One man is not going to make or break our program.We are a complete team, we go in focused on executing and winning, and even if we have an off day, it’s still better than everyone else, so we’re going to win.
I don’t think about losing per say, or failing because that’s a mindset. If you go in thinking about failing, then you’ve already failed. If you go in thinking about executing, then you’re going to win, you’re going to be a champion.
We are champion’s period.
Rather you win the meet, or you don’t win the meet. Because if you don’t win the meet then, everybody else had a really good day.
We’re coming in to break records, to set personal bests, to compete against each other, to push each other. Our team is notorious for going, one, two, three, and four.
You being in fifth place is not acceptable, you need to figure out how to get fourth. Because we’re going to sweep. But nobody wants fourth, everybody just wants to win.
The guy who finished second, is hungry to finish first. The guy who finished first says “you’re too close” to my first place so I have to go more, I have to jump further. They’re all happy for each other.
So, I understand what you’re asking. It would be a huge disappointment… but I don’t see that happening because they want it so bad.
CCNY’s men’s indoor track team won their unprecedented fifth-straight CUNYAC title while the women’s side took home their third trophy in the last five years two weeks ago, just before the ECAC Championships.