The Idaho track and field team will compete at home Friday and Saturday when it hosts the Vandal Jamboree at home at the Dan O’Brien Track and Field Complex. The Vandal Jamboree marks the end of regular season competition for the Vandals, as both the men’s and women’s teams compete for positioning at the WAC Championships, taking place May 14-17 in Orem, Utah.
The Vandals are enjoying a successful season with several athletes leading the WAC in their events. The Vandal Jamboree is one of the last opportunities athletes will have to improve personal bests and achieve qualifying times for the first round of NCAA championships, which occurs May 19-31 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. To qualify for the First Round, athletes must rank in the top 48 of the NCAA West Region. This qualification is based on their best results in all competitions.
Competing at home has historically benefited the Vandals. Last year at the Vandal Jamboree, three athletes were able to set personal bests and the team hopes to do as well this year.
“It’s just more of a comfortable thing. We’re used to this area, so it makes it easier to be more relaxed.” freshman thrower Adara Winder said.
Senior Kyle Rothwell agreed with that sentiment.
“We’re definitely a lot more comfortable here, and it’s fun,” Rothwell said. llefinitely a lot mor… to have friends and family come to the meets and see us do what we do.”
The Vandal Jamboree comes after the end of a welcome break for the Vandals from a strenuous road schedule. The Vandals juggle multiple meets and split the team to compete in a packed season that had the team traveling everywhere from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Seattle with little time to rest and recover at home.
The weather forecast this weekend calls for rain Friday and clearer skies on Saturday. Although the weather conditions will definitely have an impact on performances, the only thing athletes say they can do is to keep preparing mentally and physically.
“It is what it is, you know? You can’t really fix it,” junior jumper Emmanuel Panchol said.
Last season 13 Vandals qualified for the first round of NCAA championships with five women and eight men making the cut. This year the Vandals are looking to improve on that number, with currently qualified athletes like Rothwell timing their workouts to peak near the NCAA meet.
The meet will kick off 1 p.m. on Friday at with the men’s hammer throw and will pick up again 11 a.m. on Saturday with women’s discus.
Josiah Whitling can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org