Jan. 16, 2014
Looking to take the next step in the building process, the Vanderbilt track team heads to Birmingham, Ala., to compete in the Auburn Indoor Invitational this weekend.
The event will represent a chance for the young Commodores to continue to gain confidence, experience and momentum, much like they did during last weekend's UAB Invite. This weekend's meet will again be a measuring stick for the Commodores, who have enjoyed strong performances in their first two events of the season.
Although Vanderbilt will have several more representatives this weekend than it did during the UAB event, the overall objectives haven't changed much for the Commodores.
"(It's) more of the same this weekend," said head coach Steve Keith. "We're adding in about eight more distance runners who will open up this weekend along with the crew who competed last weekend.
"This is still a heavy training phase for our whole squad," he said, "so while we may not be as fresh as we'd like we still need to compete and get some valuable feedback on where we are."
The Auburn Indoor Invitational will have a relatively small field -- with fewer than 20 teams -- but the talent level will be high. It will feature seven SEC schools (Auburn, Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Ole Miss, Miss State and Vanderbilt) along with ACC powers Florida State, Clemson and Georgia Tech.
"UAB had about 35-plus teams, and this weekend will be smaller ... but much higher quality," said Keith.
Keith said his team is making strides and building toward the key dates that lie ahead on the schedule.
"Everyone's training is really geared towards competing well in the month of February and beyond so this is still early in the plan," he said.
After this weekend, the Commodores return home on Jan. 24-25 to host the Vanderbilt Indoor Invitational. It will be the second home meet in the school's new multi-purpose facility.
"By the time we get to our home meet, we'll be ready to roll," said Keith.
MID-WEEK EVENT: Vanderbilt's Jennifer Cannon and Sarah Goodale are competing in their first Pentathlon of the Indoor season on Thursday.
"Like everything early in the year, we're just looking to get one under our belt, get used to five events in succession in one day, and then build towards the SEC," said Keith. "There will be at least three individuals in this Pentathlon who advanced to the NCAA Championships so going head-to-head with them will be a good gauge on where we are in the early season"