While the Griz maynot be the overall favorites to come away with men's and women's titles, theteams have had a very successful year up until this point.
"The meat of our teamhas qualified, both men and women. Probably the largest numbers we've taken in years to conference. Conference only allows us to take 25athletes men and women on each side, and we've got that maxed out," says head coach Brian Schweyen.
The marks speak forthemselves, but one reason for success this year has been a new found teamchemistry.
"I think that we havea lot of great athletes on our team and I also think that we've achieved abetter sense of camaraderie on our team, and everyone is real good aboutencouraging each other and getting amped up for their events, socompetitiveness has gone up, and camaraderie for sure," says junior high jumperGwenn Abbott.
So just how manyevents do they realistically have a shot in?
"We could win as manyas 7 or 8 events across the board, and you never know where some surprises aregoing to come from. What we'relooking for is for every athlete to have the best performance they've ever had,and if that happens, we're not going to be disappointed where we end up," says Schweyen.
"If we come away withwhat we hope to do, and be atop the podium as at team, I'd be pretty happy,that'd be something neat to be a part of in my college career," says junior Heptathlete Lindsey Hall.
While the shot atwinning, and advancing through regional and national meets is a lot to thinkabout, the team is trying to stay relaxed.
"Just not getting tooexcited, just staying focused. Weover the last season have had huge PR's, people have been breaking schoolrecords, close to school records, it's just keeping that focus, and that innerdrive that we've had all year," says sophomore Sprinter Andrew Monaco.
Another unique aspectto this years team is the strength of the underclassmen.
"You know, we've hadsome strong senior leaders since I've been here, but this is the first yearI've seen such a dramatic field of competitors just as freshman. We have Samantha Hodgson, which if allgoes correctly at conference, she could be holding two of the school records,and right now, current athletes would have all the throwing records, whichwould be pretty neat," says Hall.