Despite going almost a year without competing, the student-athletes of St. John’s University track and field have trained hard and posted solid results when meets recommenced. In February, several athletes were able to go to a meet at Virginia Tech University. Senior sprinter Leah Anderson won the 400-meter race and the 4×400 relay team also earned a first-place finish.
Head coach Jim Hurt was certainly pleased with their placements, but their times were a bit off. “We were ECAC champions last year and [Leah] was Big East champion, but you need the races to run at that level,” said Hurt. “Practices have been great, but…the performances were behind where we had left off last year.”
Last week, Anderson won both the 60-meter and 200-meter dashes at the Villanova dual meet held at the Ocean Breeze facility in Staten Island. Senior sprinter Avon Samuels finished second in the 200. Juniors Amanda Belgrave and Samantha Morillo placed first in the triple jump and the weight throw, respectively. Senior thrower Amarys Berry placed second in the weight throw.
Hurt is happy to see the Red Storm back in action. As he had spent most of his life since high school attending track meets every weekend, the past year has been strange. He’s pleased how focused the track and field athletes have remained despite having normal college life upended. Thankfully, even the seniors will likely return next year due to the NCAA extending their eligibility.
“Last summer, we kept in touch with everybody and followed our normal training,” said Hurt. “The kids could individually train. If you can’t get to a track, you can run in the park or on the streets or even up and down in your house on the stairs. You can do core work.”
On campus, the student-athletes are tested for COVID-19 three times a week. They wear masks and have a temperature check every day. To date, everybody has been healthy. “The kids come to practice ready to go,” said Hurt.
The outdoor season schedule is being put together. Hurt hopes the team will be in action in a couple of weeks. There will be more ease for outdoor season than indoor, and hopefully no meet cancellations. St. John’s will likely host some meets on campus at the end of April and beginning of May.