David Drucker/Contributing Writer
The men and women track and field sprinters are preparing for the upcoming indoor season. They will have a couple of months to condition and improve their times before their first event on Jan. 9 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Invitational.
Coach Wylleshia Myrick is working with the sprinters this year. During her own college career she ran at the University of Miami, where she became the only woman in the university’s history to earn All-America honors in two different individual events at an NCAA Outdoor Championship.
Head Coach Ryan Heberling believes that Coach Myrick is of great help to her athletes.
“You need that kind of elite level sprint coach to take you from that 11.4-11.3 range down to 11 flat,” said Heberling.
The men have a solid squad of sprinters this year.
One of the men’s most experienced sprinters is graduate student Khristian Campbell. He set three personal records last year between the indoor and outdoor seasons, including the 60-meter in 6.83, 100-meter in 10.65 and the 400-meter in 54.81.
At last year’s University of Central Florida Invitational, Campbell claimed first place in the 4×100. Graduate student Alexander Paul also returns with some achievements below his belt; he ran in three events at the Conference USA Championships and won first place in the 4×100 at the University of South Florida Invitational last year.
Some of the sprinters should expect to mint new personal records. Junior Brandon Ballard participated in cross country this year, but he will likely find more success in his natural sports of sprinting. He set personal records in the outdoor season last year with times of 49.02 in the 400-meter and 1:52.95 in the 800-meter.
Junior Alex Del Rosario will look to take a heavier workload this year; he only ran at three meets last year.
Some changes have also came to the men’s side. One of the men’s top sprinters from last year, Alton Eliphar, is a redshirt sophomore. The team, however, can look forward to the debuts of multiple freshmen sprinters, including Tyler Seaton, who ran track for six years before attending the University.
Some multi-athletes will race this season as well. Junior Jamal Dorvilier put in work with the sprinters last year. Sophomore Pablo Espitia claimed third place in the 100-meter race at the Conference USA Championships last year.
The women are eager to begin the indoor season as well.
Although La’Shae White, who posted the eighth best time in the 400-meter of all women in Conference USA last year with 56:04, has graduated, it seems like junior Cam’ree Jackson may be ready to fill her shoes.
Jackson was invited to NCAA Regionals and finished in third place in the 100-meter at the Conference USA Championships last year.
Junior Maya Balfork is primed for a great season as well. She had a terrific freshman campaign that she improved upon as a multi-athlete during her sophomore year. She has been putting in work at practice and should be ready for another successful year.
Junior Jaylaan Slaughter will also see action this year. As a sophomore, she impressed by earning fourth place in both 400-meter hurdle and 4×4 relay events at the Conference USA Championships.
Heberling ultimately hopes that the mentality that his program has been pushing will elevate his athletes to new personal records and championships.
“We want to set these kids up to be responsible, be accountable and, at the end of the day, be able to fight,” said Heberling.