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Track and Field Sprint toward the Indoor Season Finish Line

Photo Courtesy of Belmont Athletics

It’s another frigid spring afternoon in Nashville. 


Players arrive at E.S. Rose Park and begin to prepare for another practice, attempting to warm up before heading to the track or to the field with the same mantra: 


“Today is a beautiful day. It's a great day to get better.” 


Belmont’s Cross Country and Track and Field Teams came into their second season in the Missouri Valley Conference with aspirations to get better, following their inaugural season.  

In a season filled with program record setters and record breakers, the teams seemingly exceeded these expectations. 


Women’s throwing teammates Logan Gray and Rebekah Stucker both set records this year for Belmont. 


Following a redshirt junior season, Stucker came into the season ready to compete in the MVC and represent the red and blue once more. 


“I competed unattached, so not affiliated with Belmont through my redshirt year,” she said. “I didn't have like anything behind me kind of motivating me but this year, I'll be competing for Belmont. So I want to make my teammates and my coaching staff proud.”  


Stucker set a program record in the weight throw, launching 20.48m at the Bellarmine Classic. 


The event was a standout not just for Stucker’s season but for her career. 


“All the other events were done. It was just us throwing the weight, and my parents drove into town, which was really cool,” she said. “I threw that and I just knew it was good. They read out the number and my whole team just went crazy.” 


That throw puts her second in the MVC standings. 


Her teammate, Gray had a program and personal best in women’s shot put at the Indoor Music City Challenge.  


What fueled and aided Gray in getting this new record wasn’t necessarily her technique but rather her support system at Belmont. 


“I can't take all the credit for that. I can't take hardly any of it,” said Gray.  “I couldn't throw the numbers that I throw I couldn't lift the stuff I do. I couldn't do any of it without the encouragement of my teammates.”  


She threw 15.72m, putting her at the top of the MVC standings. 


“We’re pretty hungry, last year It was just, you know, ‘alright guys, we're in a new conference. We all know it's harder. But you guys have been working hard. Just don't come in last we can do this,’” Gray said.  


The team is no stranger to having record breakers for the women’s weight throw.  


“This is the third year in a row where it's been set, now by three different people because Logan Gray broke it again this past fall. So we've been really fortunate to have high quality athletes year after year,” said assistant track and field coach Joe Frye. 


The throwers are ready to go out and compete and give it their best shot after this competitive season of play. 


“After watching the cross-country girls just go out there and dominate the MVC on our second year and it's like, okay, now you know, it's our time we want a slice of that pie,” said Gray. 


Frye wants his team to remember the lessons of this season going into this weekend. 


“You have to control the controllables. I know it's kind of a tried-and-true statement, but we've done all this work for the past seven months. I've seen in training and in meets that we're in a great spot and we’re ready to throw really far,” said Frye. 


The runners have also hit their stride this season, being just as exciting for the Bruins. 


“I know, personally for my group in the sprints, hurdles, jumps groups we definitely upped the intensity of our workouts a little bit to match the new conference to match the level of athletes that we have and its definitely helped,” said associate head coach Cameron Harvey. 


This change in practice appears to have paid off with a number of new program records set for the Bruins. 


Brooke Garter has set two program records this season for the 3000m and 1000m. 


Her 3000m time of 9:29.73 puts her in the top five in MVC standings. Garter also sits at No.3 in the MVC with a one-mile time of 4:47.41.  


For the men, Carter Cheeseman beat the men’s mile time for the third time this season at the Bellarmine Classic.  


With a time of 4:02.71, he holds first place in the MVC and is No.85 on the NCAA’s Indoor Qualifying List.  


Cheeseman also set a program record in the 3000m running an 8:04.45 at the Indoor Music City Challenge. 


This puts him in the MVC top five for the 3000m.  


“I think they feel good about how they're going to do it the meet, but they're definitely less uptight, and putting less pressure on themselves to do well,” said Harvey. “I think last year was a lot of that just because it was a brand-new conference and they had no idea what to expect competition wise.” 


Another program record setter, Kevin Vanderkolk set a record in the 800m with a time of 1:50.97, putting him in the top three in the MVC for this event.  


He also sits at No.3 for the men’s one mile. 


Going into the weekend, the teams aren’t necessarily focused on success but rather getting all the athletes prepared with intentionally lower stress practices to have players ready, set and going all the way to the finish line. 


“The goal for indoor track season is to finish higher than we did last year and kind of keep that upward trajectory going,” said Harvey. 


The teams travel to Chicago this weekend for the Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Championship.  



This article was written by Braden Simmons 


Contributory reporting by Bree Fabbie  

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