A group of friends enters the cafe, plop themselves down at a half cleaned table, and immediately, laughter fills the air as they tell jokes and throw pieces of their sandwiches at each other. They are all wearing the trademark Bobcat hoodie with “Track” written across their chests.
The group of friends is the men’s and women’s track teams at Quinnipiac University.
As their outdoor track season starts they are pushing their way forward, hoping to accomplish their goals as a unified team.
“We have incredible relationships, both on the guys and girls side,” Briana Tutino said. “It makes it easier to run and to stay focused on the NEC Championships.”
In the NEC pre-season poll, the men’s team was picked sixth and the women’s team was picked tenth. The teams realize that they have work to do to be fierce competitors, and allow themselves to use each other as self-motivators.
“We know we need to perform this season. We help each other to be the best we can be,” Stephen Begley said. “It helps that we get along great and are there for each other both at practice and away from practice.”
The team is off to a good start, placing better than they have ever before in their first outdoor track meet, the Snowflake Classic, that was held at Northeastern University on March 27.
“We were very happy with our performance at the Classic,” said men’s and women’s Head Coach Shawn Green. “We are making good progress and now we just need to focus on the championships.”
The team went into the competition without participating in any speed workouts in weeks.
“I don’t want them to get beat up before we get full swing into the season. I want them to be healthy,” said Green, a certified strength and conditioning specialist.
The lack of track workouts affected the team in a positive fashion as Carolyn Robin won the 10,000 meter race for the second year in a row, helping her to be named the NEC Athlete of the Week. Thomas Martin placed second in the 3,000 meter steeplechase.
Along with a great start to the season, the men’s and women’s track teams have two of the highest GPAs in the athletics department. Both teams have to juggle homework and running 60-80 miles per week.
“[Student athletes] tend to get a bad reputation,” Green said. “But because of the great support by the athletic staff at this school, our team is able to obtain good grades.”
“There is a high expectation placed on us from the athletic staff and the professors because we are athletes,” said Tutino, who placed thirtieth in the 800 meter run at the Snowflake Classic. “We want to impress them and maintain a good image for our team.”
The teams are respected by staff for their maintenance of good grades, but more so by each other.
Begley, who placed fifty-ninth in the 1,500 meter run at the Classic, said it is easy to respect people with the same goals as you. “These guys accept you because we are a family. We know how much work each of us puts in to beat our old times and we respect that of each other.”