The NCAA Division III Track and Field Championships were a showcase for some of Springfield’s best athletes. After overcoming many obstacles throughout the season, the team fought through en route to a successful performance on the national stage. Led by Carly Markos, Alex Niemiec, and Courtney Luscier, the Pride showed off their perseverance through some tough competition.
A successful appearance at Nationals for Springfield began to materialize after junior Courtney Luscier led the way competing in the 60-meter dash. In the opening round, Luscier finished seventh overall with a run of 7.71 seconds. She would then follow the strong start by finishing fourth overall in the 60-meter dash finals. “The competition was intense but all the athletes were so friendly which made the experience better,” said Luscier. “I had an awesome experience competing at nationals. I went with a great group of athletes and coaches who all supported me.” After an imposing start to nationals, the Pride looked to continue to represent their school proudly.
There was plenty of striking performances from Springfield’s athletes, but none like senior Alex Niemiec’s performance on the big stage. Niemiec, who has had success throughout the season, showed off his talent with a high jump of 6’9,’’ good to tie for second overall. It was the second year in a row where Niemiec has tied for second as the previous year. “Nationals was a good time, a lot of good athletes, high level of competition,” said Niemiec who was aware of the challenges competing against the best.
Throughout the season, Carly Markos has shown her great talent in weight throw. However, Markos struggled to stay atop the competition during Nationals. She finished 16th overall in weight throw, but doesn’t seem to be fazed by her finish. “Through this experience, I have learned to stay positive and keep moving forward, because it may be hard now, but tomorrow, it will be easier,” said Markos staying positive about her performance during Nationals. “I am very lucky to have had this opportunity to learn and grow as an athlete. Our team was very supportive of all of the national qualifiers and they really pushed all of us to do our best every single practice.” As a senior who has given the team a lot of experience and resilience, Markos has left her mark on a successful indoor track season.
The team is optimistic and youthful. Even though they are young, the Pride has shown growth as not only individually but as a team. “We have a young group of athletes this year, mostly consisting of freshman. When going against some good teams, we compete to the best of our ability and put forth our best effort,” said Luscier. This mindset has been a part of the team throughout the season under coach Mike Miller, who is in his first year coaching the team. “We’ve had a phenomenal year. A lot of different training theories were happening through our program. A lot of people never trained this way so it usually takes a little bit long for everything to get up and running,” said Miller. Under the new program, the team had its struggles at the beginning of the year but have begun to show their ability to adapt to the new training concepts. “ We had a really big breakthrough as we started getting to the championship part of our season where people started improving across all boards,” added Miller, who has shown great pride in coaching athletes that have shown their ability to compete at high levels on the biggest stages. By following this mindset and the new training program, the team has shown promise for a bright future.
Performing well at the highest stage is something that Springfield takes pride in, and it showed over the course of the tournament. With great coaching and a great mindset, the team has shown many instances throughout the season of their bright future. As the team continues to build its strong chemistry, the indoor track season comes to a strong close with the team having confidence in performing well during the outdoor track season.