The Emory track and field team poses for a team photo after the Emory Complex Showdown on Jan. 14. (Courtesy of Liesl Scherrer)

Emory University Men’s and Women’s Track and Field teams led historic seasons last year. Annika Urban (23C) became the first indoor individual national champion in program history with her win in the mile run. Additionally, both teams finished third at the University Athletic Association (UAA) Championships, and each captured four individual titles. This year, the Eagles are looking to build on that success and put together another strong campaign.

The teams’ first competition in the new year was the Emory Crossplex Showdown on Jan. 14. Emory put on an impressive showing, with both teams finishing in first place and breaking a combined five program records. Senior Dawit Dean, who was a member of the men’s 4x200m relay team that set the program record with a time of 1:29.92, attributed the strong start to the team’s work ethic.

“A lot of us just had really good training during the time off,” Dean said. “As long as you’re consistent, and you’re dedicated, the results often pay off.”

Off-the-track factors also played a role in the teams’ successes. Dean said that their roster composition and their focus on their goals have improved since last season.

“I think the team, from a cultural standpoint, are very locked in,” Dean said. “We’ve got our goals clearly set out, and we know what we want to accomplish. We’ve got a lot of talented freshmen that joined our team and a lot of veterans on the team that will hopefully lead us to a conference championship — it’s this combination of talent, culture and leadership.”

Junior sprinter Kaya Binetti, who was a member of the record-breaking women’s 4x200m relay team, said that the team’s chemistry and supportive culture enhanced their performances.

“We’re really lucky in that we’ve attracted such a great group of people,” Binetti said. “I haven’t met anyone who’s not very kind and supportive and just excited to be there … We all just want what’s best for each other. That’s what initially makes us get along so easily — we really want to succeed as a team.”

While the teams have reasons to be optimistic, they understand the season will bring challenges. According to Binetti, the teams are especially focused on preventing injuries and prioritizing recovery to mitigate the number of physical ailments they face.

“We need to make sure everyone’s healthy,” Binetti said. “The coaches are really looking to prioritize recovery and making sure people are feeling healthy and good and making sure that someone who’s having a day where they don’t feel as good can just sit the day off or modify their workout and their training.”

The teams also switched their practice location to Adams Stadium in Toco Hills since Emory’s outdoor track is closed for renovations through May. However, the teams are taking the challenge in stride. Junior sprinter Jackson Price, another 4x200m record holder, said that the change “hasn’t stopped [them] at all,” and junior distance runner Liesl Scherrer added that adopting a different routine is “exciting.”

Scherrer also said that the Eagles have a mental philosophy for dealing with setbacks: “trusting the process.”

“Not every race is going to be your best day, but there’s always a chance to have a good day,” Scherrer said. “Based on your training, you know physically you’re able to, and trusting yourself and trusting the work that you’ve put in with your teammates, going to practice every single day and doing everything, is something that has flipped people’s mindsets more and calmed nerves more.”

Price said that the whole team is determined to understand the work they need to do to achieve their championship aspirations.

“Our mentality is very set on winning a conference championship and getting as many people as we can to nationals,” Price said. “That kind of mindset has developed through the whole entire team, and we’re all prepared to train hard and work for it.”


Managing Editor Jenna Daly (25B) is on the women’s track and field team and had no role in writing or editing this article.

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Will Peck (25Ox) is from Chesterton, Indiana and currently an undecided student. In his free time, he enjoys going on bike rides, watching Chicago sports, and listening to music.