Just over two weeks from the Ivy League Heptagonal Championship, the Yale men’s and women’s track and field teams hosted their final home meet of the indoor season this past weekend at the Giegengack Invitational. While the meet was unscored, women’s captain Sydney Cureton ’16 was nonetheless a highlight of the weekend with her victory in the 60-meter dash — a 7.63 second sprint in the finals just one one-hundredth of a second off her career-best. The News sat down with Cureton to discuss her own performance this season, as well as the team’s objectives moving forward.
Q How would you characterize your performance this past weekend at the Giegengack?
A My parents were here, and we had some of the recruits visiting, so it was really nice to win my event in my last home meet in [Coxe Cage]. There were a lot of great performances across the board. That was encouraging especially since we’re getting close to Ivy championships.
Q And how does it feel to not only be on the verge of breaking your personal best, but also being just four one-hundredths of a second off the school record?
A It’s really exciting! But also I’m trying not to think about it and just stay relaxed when I race. Because if you’re trying to go for a specific time, it actually makes you tense and press, which makes you run slower. So I’m trying to focus on racing and competing well instead of running for a certain time.
Q With the Ivy championships only a couple weeks away, how has this season looked as a whole for the women’s team?
A We have definitely seen a lot of improvement. Most people’s first meet back was Yale-Dartmouth-Columbia [on Jan. 23], which was not our best meet. However, there were some strong individual performances. Though from that meet [until] now we’ve had a couple more meets, [and] way more people competing and trying out different events. We have a good amount of freshmen so it’s interesting to see where their best events will be. So this recent meet, our coaches were happy with how we did and how we are looking going toward the Ivy League championship season.
Q Tell me about your captaincy, and what sort of leader you are. Are you one that leads by example or one that’s more vocal?
A It is an honor to be captain. It’s not only sprinters, which is what I do, but it’s field-event people, distance runners, etc. It’s kind of challenging when trying to get everyone together and on the same page, when you do have people practicing at different times, in various places, doing a multitude of events … but I do think the good thing about track is that even though everyone knows it’s an individual sport, at the end you’re pulling for the team.
I am definitely more of a show-by-example type of captain. Public speaking is not my favorite thing to do. When I saw the public speaking class offered this semester I was like, “Please help me!” Though of course I do give speeches that I hope are helping the team — especially for the underclassmen. This is my fourth season so I have had a lot of experiences with the team, so I try to say things to help with that. However my team is very good at being self-motivated, so I try to display the right actions and hope that people follow suit.
Q Where do you draw your inspiration from when competing?
A Probably my teammates. People in both my event and other events — for men and women since we practice together. My teammates can do some awesome things — things that I could never do. The throwers are so strong, the distance runners can run forever. I just can’t do that. So I’m always awed by people’s performances and it’s really impressive to see how hard everyone work everyday in a time-consuming sport like track.
Q Since this is your last season, what would be your ultimate achievement before finishing your career?
A I would definitely love to break the school record in the 60 meters, and also in the 100-meter dash [in the spring]. I think that it is definitely possible. I am really close to breaking the 60 record — I just need an extra little push! Placing at Ivies would definitely cap off a great season.
Q And what are your goals for the team moving forward this season?
A To have a positive attitude and to be confident when we go into meets and getting top four at the Ivy League Championships. We got sixth place last year, so improving upon that.
[Also], representing the ‘Y’ well, being good sportsmen, competing hard and knowing that we put everything on the line and did our best to beat other people.