The 2012-13 Drake track and field squad welcomes new expectations courtesy of 24 new faces. With 24 freshmen, Drake looks to surprise the Missouri Valley Conference faithful in 2013.
Before the State Farm MVC Championship opens on Feb. 22, though, the Bulldogs look to start with a statement at the Iowa State Holiday Preview on Friday in Ames, Iowa. Drake debuts 24 freshmen at the Lied Recreational Center on Friday.
After months of preparation, senior jumper Dan Karys longs to compete.
“We’ve trained for the last three months, and we haven’t competed once yet,” Karys said. “We’re excited to run the events we’ve been training for. I just want to compete. I’m ready.”
As Karys and Marissa Smith, senior sprinter and hurdler, near the last leg of their Drake careers, a single goal leads the way.
“I think indoor is exciting for the two of us because the two of us are on the breaking point of national power, so I think for us, making NCAAs,” Smith said. “It’s very possible for the two of us.”
After months of training alongside Drake’s new faces, Smith expects an impressive showing at Friday’s meet. The women’s squad welcomes 14 freshmen.
“They survived fall training all around,” Smith said. “I, personally, think they’re one of the stronger incoming classes I think we’ve ever had.”
Though Smith prefers outdoor competition, she eagerly awaits the 2012-13 indoor campaign thanks to Drake’s talented 400-meter field. The Bulldogs boast a new wave of 400-meter specialists.
As her Bulldog career winds down, Smith expects Drake’s newcomers to step up.
“Young blood is good because us old ones get tired,” Smith said. “I’m so excited for them.”
Drake’s “young blood” includes freshman Celeste Arteaga. After a successful cross country campaign, Arteaga awaits another chance to improve.
The indoor campaign promises another perk: more Bulldogs. Arteaga rejoins 17 cross country teammates on Friday as she joins 18 new teammates.
“I’m excited to meet everyone else on the team and being with them and hang out with other teammates and get to know other people,” Arteaga said. “We’re a bigger team now, so we’ll all have each other’s backs and support each other.”
The Iowa State Holiday Preview starts at 11 a.m. on Friday in Ames, Iowa.