The University South Dakota men’s and women’s track and field teams will continue their outdoor season at two separate meets this weekend.
Select groups of Coyote athletes will be traveling to Fayetteville, Ark. to compete in the Arkansas Spring Invitational, while others will head south to Austin, Tex. to participate in Texas Relays on the campus of the University of Texas.
“It’s a fun weekend because all of our athletes get to compete,” said USD men’s track head coach Dave Gottsleben.
The Texas Relays and Arkansas Spring Invitational will be meets for athletes given the chance to qualify for the first round of the NCAA championships, which are to be held on May 24.
Head women’s track coach Lucky Huber said that the Texas and Arkansas meets select the best performers in each respective event to compete.
“It’s a not a decision of who we say gets to go,” Huber said, “but who qualifies for the meet.”
The Texas Relays will feature a variety of schools, including several southern universities including,
Baylor University, Oklahoma and Florida.
The Arkansas Spring Invitational will feature programs such as the University of Minnesota, USD rival South Dakota State University, and the hometown school Arkansas.
Gottsleben said a variety of competitors gives the respected competitions a very unique sense.
While the Texas Relays may help athletes in field events such as the pole vault, throws, and jumps, the Arkansas Spring Invitational is geared more towards track runners.
USD junior pole-vaulter Bethany Buell is an All-American and recently won Summit League Athlete of the Week at the beginning of the outdoor season.
Buell said that to prepare for the Texas Relays, she “makes sure” she’s “doing the little things right.”
“It will be some tough competition,” Buell said. “It really makes you earn it.”
Buell mentioned that in preparation for the busy weekend, the team has been increased their weight training and running, but not to the point where they become overly fatigued.
“There’s a long season ahead,” Buell said. “I want to make sure I’m able to compete at the end of June.”
When it comes to the unique Saturday the USD track and field will be having, Buell talked about some meets were tailored for different events, and that the country’s big enough to support a lot of options.
“I would say (traveling to different meets on the same day) is pretty common,” Buell said.
Gottsleben said that there are all kinds of different goals that the team wants to meet on Saturday. He cited the men’s performance at the Indoor Summit League Championships, where the squad exceeded expectations.
“We accomplished a lot,” said Gottsleben. “I feel a lot of good things happened.”