The men’s and women’s track and field teams returned to indoor competition for their first meet of 2014 at the Niswonger Invitational in Johnson City, Tenn. last Friday.

In a sport as fitness-intensive as track and field, winter break brings the threat of athletes abandoning their routine. Head Coach John Curtin viewed the meet as an opportunity to get the teams back in the right mindset.

“It was a little bit of good, a little bit of bad and a lot of in-between,” Curtin said. “The first meet coming back is always tough. A couple of kids were calling it a rust-buster.”

The two-day event featured a handful of impressive individual performances. Senior Eddie Mulder finished second in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 15:02.41.

On the women’s side, junior Electra Korn recorded a career-best time of 58.07, good for eighth place in the event. Fellow junior Debora Adjibaba was right behind her, finishing ninth with a time of 58.23.

Curtin had high praise for all three athletes. He spoke especially highly of Mulder, who recorded the seventh-best indoor 5K time in Division III, praising the senior distance runner’s dedication to the team.

“Eddie’s been getting stronger week by week, from cross country to track,” Curtin said.

He continued: “I think Eddie’s got a lot of upside yet. It’s his last go-around, and I know he wants to close out on a positive note.”

The second day featured strong races from junior Stephanie Crane, who finished second in the mile and fourth in the 800-meter run, and junior Marissa Gogniat, who finished third in the 3,000-meter run, among others.

The Eagles’ next meet will be this Sunday, when they host the Emory Crossplex Invitational in Birmingham, Ala. Curtin expects his teams to perform well, but stressed the importance of the meets that follow.

“When it’s all said and done, the season boils down to the UAA Championships and the NCAA Championships,” he said.

“Everything before that is preparation.”

–By Ryan Smith