Congratulations to the Men’s track team for posting a 3rd place finish at this year’s ACC Track Championship. This is the highest performance of the winter/spring sports schedule among NC State athletics.
At the end of Friday, NC State’s men stood atop the ACC Track and Field Championship standings behind solid scoring performances in the 10,000 meters, long jump, and 3,000 meter steeplechase. However, with few qualifiers in the finals of the sprints and middle distance events, NC State was likely to slip in the standings.
Early into the afternoon, NC State had fallen from 1st to 6th in the standings, and based upon low participation in the remaining events, it was unlikely that NC State could stay in the heat for the overall team championship. Florida State and Clemson do an outstanding and efficient job of allocating the NCAA cap of 11 scholarships across areas where athletes can compete in 3-4 events (e.g. sprinters, jumpers, middle distances).
Rollie Geiger, on the other hand, prefers to skew his scholarship count toward the long distance runners and highly specialized field event guys, thereby making it virtually impossible to score the requisite 110+ points to win an overall team championship. This strategy may help you win x-country championships, but severely hamstrings a program trying to compete in the winter and spring in track.
It is also worth noting that the two schools that finished ahead of NC State this year in track (Florida State and Clemson) were aided by members of the football team in the 100, 200, and relays. You see, those two schools scheduled their spring football games last weekend so as to facilitate the dual services for these athletes. One can only imagine this registered on the radar of our fearless leadership in Raleigh.
A sub-story in all of this is that Coach O’Brien may feel his skill position players will get faster working with his conditioning coaches as opposed to our track coaches. One hopes this does not hinder inherent synergies that can and should be fostered between the two sports. Remember that HS All American track athlete TJ Graham joins the football program next year, and should be an important asset to the track program, as well.
I would like to spend a few moments highlighting our women’s track program – which is a microcosm of the larger, and well-chronicled leadership and management deficiencies permeating NC State athletics.
NC State’s women’s track team managed to score 21 points, putting them at 11th of 12 teams (Duke is 12th). It should be noted that there are several paid coaches (including a separate “Director of Operations” for Women’s track) dedicated to a sport that has managed to muster 21 total points at the conference meet.
To further question the ROI of this resource allocation, consider this:
The women’s team did not field a single competitor in the following events:
3000 Meter Steeplechase
In addition, the women’s team failed to post a single finalist in the following events:
400 Meter Hurdles
*The 4×100 relay dropped the baton on the 2nd leg, thus not finishing the event.
This leaves us with the following representation and performances:
Heptathlon – 7th place (1 competitor)
Long Jump – 4th place (3 competitors)
Triple Jump – 3rd place (2 competitors)
High Jump – 3rd and 8th place (3 competitors)
10,000 Meters – 6th place (2 competitors)
The Men amass 17 points in the 5,000 meters behind 1st, 5th, 7th, and 8th place finishes. This is good enough to move the men from 5th to 3rd in the overall standings with one event (4×400 relay) remaining. With six points separating NC State from 4th place UVA, the Wolfpack will hold on to finish third in this year’s conference meet.
I believe this is the best performance of the spring for an NC State team.
Somewhere on Lake Gaston, Lee Fowler is smiling.