In a running season you're constantly trying to build throughout the season and peak at the very end for conference championships or even on the national stage. For Utica College's track and field team their sending fifteen student athletes to the ECAC championships in only their third year of competing. 3rd year Head Coach Jason Rose says, "It's very exciting, obviously I'm a very competitive guy so I love the fact that we're getting people on the national list. But going into it I wouldn't have expected it on the third or fourth year having as many people as we have with national hopes."
The outdoor season for track and field athletes begins in early march but athlete's always have an eye toward the conference championships. Sophomore Jessica Ciraulo says, "It's definitely a different competition, what we're used to is I don't have a lot of competition with me. At ECAC's I placed 6th last year so my first and foremost goal is to make it into the finals day 2 so I can compete again. So it's a different approach to warm up, it's a more serious atmosphere which is nice."
Coach Rose estimates that only a handful of competitors have a chance to make nationals, although anything can happen. And some say the added pressure can help them run faster. Freshman Andrew Hoover says, "It almost makes you run slower in my instance, because it's that nervousness and that adrenaline that makes you run faster, but also a lot less nervousness is nice."
This year the national qualification changed so only a set number will make it and runners say this way they know exactly where they stand. Herkimer native Lauren Delude says, "It's up and down like one second you could be 13th and the next you're at the bottom of the list. Being that I was on the list at one point I know that I can do it so there's definitely a lot of pressure and this is the last week to qualify so definitely a lot of pressure."