NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After months of practice, Belmont University track and field gets one day to test its skills this week before a holiday hiatus disrupts the indoor track schedule. Sixteen women's teams and 14 men's teams will gather for Saturday's Vanderbilt Opener with field events beginning at 10 a.m. and athletes taking to the track at 1 p.m.
Saturday marks the first meet on the calendar for Belmont track and field and the only indoor gathering this side of New Year's Day, which means there's plenty of anticipation brewing over a trip to the Vandy Fieldhouse.
"This is the light at the end of the tunnel," said sophomore middle-distance runner Katrina Quigley (Nashville, Tenn.). "It's the opening to so much more. It's a reminder of why we do it."
"It's always tough gauging where you're going to be at to start a season; you've just kind of got to trust the process," said junior sprinter Andrew Garcia (Brentwood, Tenn.). "Every year is different because every year your body feels a little bit different."
Belmont will be joined just down the road at Vanderbilt by five other Ohio Valley Conference programs, but the focus of the first meet of the year is more internal. Saturday is a chance for the Bruins to put an early mark on paper and give themselves a point to build from for the rest of the season.
A good start can go a long way to propelling an athlete to a successful year.
"For the freshmen, I just want them to get a taste of college athletics. See what it's like, feel the vibe," Belmont Associate Head Track Coach Cameron Harvey said. "The returners, right now this is an opportunity for them to take advantage of peak fitness from months of practice.
"A lot of it is setting you up psychologically for the season. You've got to keep the motivation, keep it rolling through Christmas break because when we come back, it's one week and we're at Vanderbilt again."
The Bruins will break following Saturday's final event with the next meet coming way out on Jan. 12 again at Vanderbilt. The Commodore Invitational marks the start of the weekly schedule that marches toward the OVC Championships the following month at Charleston, Ill.
|FIELD EVENTS||TRACK EVENTS|
|10 a.m.||High jump (W/M)||1 p.m.||60 hurdles (W/M)|
|10 a.m.||Weight throw (W)||1:25 p.m.||60 meters (W/M)|
|11 a.m.||Long Jump (W/M)||2 p.m.||Mile (W/M)|
|11 a.m.||Pole vault (M)||2:30 p.m.||400 meters (W/M)|
|11:45 a.m.||Weight throw (M)||3:20 p.m.||800 meters (W/M)|
|1:30 p.m.||Shot put (W)||3:40 p.m.||200 meters (W/M)|
|2 p.m.||Pole vault (W)||4:25 p.m.||3K (W/M)|
|2 p.m.||Triple jump (W/M)||5:10 p.m.||4x400 relay (W/M)|
|3:15 p.m.||Shot put (M)|
TEAMS IN THE FIELD (14M/16W)
Alabama A&M (M)
Jackson State (W)
Middle Tennessee (M/W)
Murray State (M/W)
Southeast Missouri State (M/W)
Tennessee State (M/W)
Tennessee Tech (M/W)
Trevecca Nazarene (M/W)
Western Kentucky (M/W)
Spectators will be allowed in the facility beginning at 9 a.m. There is a $5 admission fee per person.
Parking is allowed in lots 74 and 75 across from the outdoor track on Natchez Trace.