Nazim Trammell-Wells | Staff Writer
After winning the Big South Conference Championship in both indoor and outdoor track and field, the Pirates athletic team was finally awarded their rings Jan. 23.
Since joining the Big South, it is no secret that some of Hampton’s athletic programs have had some growing pains. The program that has made the move almost flawlessly has been the HU track and field team. Track and field last year made a clean sweep, winning both indoor and outdoor track seasons in their first Big South season. Now, their aim is to repeat what they did last year.
Repeating is no easy task. Anyone who has ever played a sport knows that. Does Hampton have what is takes? When asked this, All-Conference Hampton hurdler Autumn Smith had plenty to say.
“I think we can definitely repeat in winning both indoor and outdoor,” Smith said. “I think we all have individual talent, and it’s still super early, but once we learn how to put all the talent we share together, we’ll get it done. Especially for us seniors, this is our last go-round, so we’ve got to go out with a bang.”
Hurdler Isaiah Norris also weighed on the current status of the team, saying, “I absolutely think we can win again. Even though some of our talented seniors from last year graduated, we’ve recruited some unbelievable freshmen with great potential. They seem up to the challenge when it comes to filling the shoes of the seniors. With that being said we also have multiple athletes who have a broad skill set and can do multiple events.”
A confident but justified group of leaders form this year’s team. Watching the team at the CNU track meet in the beginning of the year, observers could see the team’s domination over other programs.
Even though the transition over to the Big South looked smooth, the athletes said it wasn’t all peaches and cream, and it wasn’t even 100 percent because of actual performance.
“Transitioning into the Big South was overall pretty smooth,” Norris said. “I’d say the only negativity we heard was from other HBCU supporters who were disappointed that HU left the MEAC. But the team wasn’t fazed at all.”
When asked about the transition, Smith actually described it as exciting.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say it was a smooth transition, but it also wasn’t a difficult one,” Smith said. “We all get out there and do what we need to do. There are areas we knew of beforehand we would struggle with, but I think we handle them well as a team.”
It’s no secret that this team may have weaknesses, but it thrives with its strengths. It will be exciting to see if this year’s team can bring some more rings back to HU.