Indoor track glad to finally be visiting team

Josh Johnston

Hosting a track meet can be stressful. So after four home meets in a row, the Kent State indoor track teams and coach Bill Lawson are more than happy to be the visiting team.

Tonight and tomorrow, the teams will compete in the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup held at Penn State University.

“I’m happy to go to Penn State and let them run the meet, and we just go there and perform,” Lawson said. “I think everybody’s excited to get on the bus and head over to Penn State. A different venue is exciting in itself, and I think it raises the bar a lot.”

The Flashes will face teams from all over the East at the meet.

“It’s a tremendous atmosphere. I think you’ll see a high elevation of not only energy in the building, but competition,” Lawson said.

Sophomore Jessica Lhotsky, lately untouchable in the 800-meter run, looks forward to the challenge.

“I’ll get some really tough competition,” Lhotsky said. “I’m excited to see how that goes.”

For some of Kent State’s athletes, the contest could catapult them into the NCAA Championship meet.

Senior high jumper Shamel Smith came close to jumping the provisional qualifying mark of 7 feet, 1/4 inch last week. Smith said he’ll qualify this week.

“I’ve still gotta work out the little kinks,” he said.

Now midway through the indoor season, Lawson said he expects some breakout performances for the men’s and women’s teams.

“I will expect a great number on both the men’s and women’s side seasonal best performances as well as even personal best performances,” he said. “As long as we can fight through the elements – the cold and flu season.”

Contact sports correspondent Josh Johnston

at [email protected].