Indiana Daily Student

IU begins outdoor season in Arizona

<p>Current junior multi-event athlete Chase Pacheco competes in the high jump as part of the heptathlon in the IU Relays on Jan. 27, 2017, in Harry Gladstein Fieldhouse. Both men's and women's track and field teams competed in the Gladstein Invitational last weekend.</p>
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Current junior multi-event athlete Chase Pacheco competes in the high jump as part of the heptathlon in the IU Relays on Jan. 27, 2017, in Harry Gladstein Fieldhouse. Both men's and women's track and field teams competed in the Gladstein Invitational last weekend.


Earlier in the month, the Hoosiers track and field team completed the indoor portion of the season after competing in the NCAA Championship meet. The team looks ahead to the latter portion of the season, which includes outdoor competition and warmer weather. 

IU Coach Ron Helmer said the team will primarily focus on individual competition for the rest of the season.

“It's about getting to warm weather and getting good individual performances out there and hopefully find some really good competition on a more individual level," Helmer said.

Although the Hoosiers' next couple of weeks will be in warm locations such as Arizona, Florida and Texas, the team kicked off the outdoor season last week in Indianapolis for the Stan Lyons Invitational. Helmer said although it was the official start to the outdoor season it wasn't the most important meet regarding this portion of the season.  

“We just took some people up there — people who just needed the chance to get out and compete a little bit,” Helmer said. “It was mostly just athletes who haven’t raced in a while, but it was cold and nothing very important.” 

For this weekend, IU track and field will travel to Tempe, Arizona, for the Pac-12 vs. Big Ten Invitational. It will showcase talent from three Pac-12 teams, which include Arizona State, the University of California and the University of Colorado Boulder. IU along with Michigan, Penn State and Nebraska, will be competing for the Big Ten, and LSU will be competing as a guest. 

Helmer said this weekend isn’t so much about competition but rather getting into warm weather and adjusting to the outdoor season. 

“It’s just a chance for us to open up the outdoor season and get into good weather," Helmer said. "It gives us a starting point and we will see how it goes from there."

Most of the team will travel this weekend, but many of the distance runners will stay in Indiana to continue to recover. 

“We are taking most of the team but some people just need a little more time to recover and adjust," Helmer said. "We are still taking our best field athletes, sprinters, hurdlers and middle distance runners. It’s mostly the distance athletes that won't be traveling as much this weekend.” 

Regarding the transition from indoor to outdoor season, Helmer said many of the athletes easily adjust, especially since the training remains the same.

“It’s just more of the same," Helmer said. "It’s just one big long season for us. We just keep going and keep training. As we get more into the outdoor season, it's a time when we want to be at our very best, and I think the athletes understand that. We just keep doing our work and keep moving forward.” 

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