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TRACK & FIELD: Warriors get started with outdoor season this weekend in Missouri
Warriors Head Coach Eric Alberter
INA, Ill. – The Rend Lake College men’s track and field team heads into its outdoor season this weekend in Missouri. It will be the first step in its attempt to outdo a top-three finish at the NJCAA indoor finals earlier this year.
Head Coach Eric Alberter admitted his team is a little beat up right now after a tough training schedule coming off the indoor season. He also said it’s not going to get any easier for his athletes as they head into the beginning stage of the outdoor season.
“We are going to make a big final push to get through the outdoor season,” said Alberter. “We are really focusing on strength workouts over the last couple of weeks and that will continue. Hopefully it works and we’ll be running fast.”
The first test will be the Joey Haines Invitational this weekend in Cape Girardeau, Mo. From there, the team will head to the Sea Ray Relays, April 13 and 14, in Knoxville, Tenn.; the NJCAA Region 24 Championships, April 27 and 28, in Jacksonville; and the Billy Hayes Invite, May 4, in Bloomington, Ind. The NJCAA Outdoor Championships are May 15-17 in South Plains, Texas, which makes the Hayes Invitational the last chance for Warriors to qualify for the national championships.
“The thing with us is that we are so young,” Alberter said. “We are still trying to get our guys through a full training cycle and now that they have a national championship event behind them, I think we are going to be more relaxed outdoors. They will know what to expect.”
Traditionally a better team indoors, the Warriors are looking to get through the growing pains and perform as good – if not better – as its third-place showing at indoor nationals. RLC’s roster, in the past, has been geared more toward middle-distance and distance runners. With Alberter’s redirection of the program to a more sprints and middle-distance monster, past performances on the national stage may just be moot when considering where the program will place this spring. He mentioned sophomores Tremaine Gordon (Evanston) and Lamar Blandon (Waukegan) as two Warriors teams should definitely watch out for. That list also includes sophomore 60M national champion Demarcus Brooks (Springfield) and the national championship 4x800 relay team.
“Pretty much all of our 60, 100 and 200 guys are finally starting to come around and look like they know what they are doing,” Alberter said. “It will be interesting to see what will happen this year. ... If it doesn’t work, we’ll go and do something else.”
Looking beyond the next seven weeks: The recruiting season for NJCAA track and field began in December and Alberter said he’s already signed three athletes – high jumpers from Granite City and a quarter-miler from Alberter’s alma mater, Belleville West High. Marcus Mason jumped seven feet as a senior and Matt Wilson logged 6-9 as a junior. Jeremy Randolph’s 48.2 in the 400M as a junior at Belleville West is as fast as the senior PRs of current quarter-mile specialists at Rend Lake.
Alberter added that he has a couple more prospects on the horizon. But there shouldn’t be many spots to fill for next year. There are only the three aforementioned sophomores on Rend Lake’s 18-man roster today.
For all things athletic at The Lake, visit RLC online at www.rlc.edu/warriors.