CHARLOTTE, N.C.– Charlotte’s track and field teams will kick off the season this weekend, with three separate events planned. The team will kick off competition by traveling to the Liberty Kickoff. This event will be focused on combined events, with competitors competing in the Heptathlon and Pentathlon on Thursday and Friday. On Saturday, Nick Scudder will compete in the 5K at the Sharon Colyear-Danville Season Opener at Boston University. The team will close out the weekend by competing at the JDL Early Bird Invitational in Winston-Salem on Sunday. This will be the team’s first chance at competition during the indoor season, with the next opportunity not coming until January 13th when they travel to Blacksburg, Virginia for the Virginia Tech Invitational. Coach Olesen is excited to get another year started with the program, and get some early returns from training.
“This time of the year we have been training all fall during our preseason”, said Coach Olesen. “There has been lots of development and volume, so I think everyone is ready to break it up a little bit. They have been training and we are ready to compete.”
Charlotte is returning most of its scoring from last season, as the team returns most of its depth from last season’s championship teams. The team has also brought in a lot of new talent that should help the team keep up its consistent high level of performance. Coach Olesen is excited about what this depth could mean for the team this season.
“We really didn’t lose a lot of scoring from last year, if you look at some of our results from our championship last year as most of our depth returns”, said Olesen. “On top of that we’ve added great additional depth this year, with much more depth on the men’s sprint squad and other event areas. On the women’s side we’ve added some key individuals in all the different event areas. Based on last year’s results and a deeper and stronger roster this year, we are really excited about our chances this year to contest for more championships.”
To start the week, the team will travel to Lynchburg, Virginia for the Liberty Kickoff. This event will focus on combined event athletes. This is important because most meets do not offer this event category, so it will be crucial for these athletes to get as much experience as possible from this competition to help them as the season continues.
“It’s a complicated weekend. It’s not uncommon for us to split up the team, but to do it three ways is a little unusual”, said Coach Olesen. We will be very busy to kick off the season. The first meet up at Liberty will be focused on combined events, so Pentathlon and Heptathlon. We are fortunate that we are able to have this opportunity. It has been a number of years since we have been able to find a combined events meet in December. It is kind of early and they have a lot to work on, but these events are not offered at every track meet that we go to. So, to have the chance here and one more additional meet before the conference championships, it will allow these athletes to get more experience and prove what they can do so they can make that travel squad.”
Nick Scudder will be competing in Boston at the Sharon Colyear-Danville Season Opener. Scudder is coming off a strong cross country season where he was the individual champion at both the NCAA Southeast Regional and the Conference USA Championships. Scudder was the first male runner in school history to be an individual champion at a regional championship, and the first Charlotte runner to win a regional championship since Caroline Sang won on the women’s side in 2017. This competition will be a great way for Nick to continue the strong form he ended the cross country season with.
“Nick’s situation is a little different”, said Olesen. “Nick is still running fast from the cross country season, so this has been a trend to go to an indoor meet very early in the December while you’re still in shape from cross country and go to an indoor qualifier. That’s really his goal while he is up in Boston. It was very successful last year with Paul Arredondo, running a very fast 5K last year at this same race.”
Finally, the team will close out the weekend in Winston-Salem for the JDL Early Bird Invitational. This meet will be used to help the team get in the swing of competition and see where the team is after preseason. Coach Olesen hopes this meet can be used as a way for the team to see where it is after all of its preseason training.
“This meet will be used more like the people going to Liberty, in the sense that we are trying to knock off some rust from fall training and get some feedback on where people are from their training before we go into the winter break”, said Coach Olesen. “We are always surprised, we do have some increased intensity at the end of the fall training. Sometimes we will go to one of these first meets and we are surprised where people are ready to do well even though we are just using it to get prepared for the rest of the season.”
To keep up with the results in Liberty, you can follow live results here. To stream Nick Scudder’s race in Boston, you can go to FloTrack or follow live results here. Finally, to follow live results for the JDL Early Bird Invitational, you can click the link here. Stay tuned to Charlotte49ers.com for more updates on the team throughout the weekend and follow the teams on Twitter @CharlotteTFXC and on Instagram @charlotte49ertfxc for updates as well.