MACOMB, Ill. - Western Illinois indoor track & field opens its 2012-13 season this weekend at the Redbird Open on Illinois State's campus on Saturday.
Both the men's and women's squads were projected to finish fifth in the league in the preseason poll, conducted by the conference's head coaches.
Each team finished seventh last year, but there is excitement about the team's combination of experience and youth heading into 2012-13.
"We are very excited to get the season underway," third-year head coach David Beauchem said. "The biggest thing we need from our experienced upper-classmen is performance. They need to lead by example and that example is performing well. We need previous success to become current and future success."
The Fighting Leathernecks return student-athletes who experienced success last year on both the men's and women's sides.
Senior Jamario Taylor earned all-league honors during both the indoor and outdoor seasons in 2011-12, and was also all-conference during the indoor season in 2010-11. His indoor mark in the high jump of 7-00.25 ranks second in program history.
On the women's side, Chelsea Lynes enters her senior season after a record-breaking 2011-12, in which she broke the school records in the 600-meter dash (1:34.33), 800-meter dash (2:08.86), and 1,000-meter run (2:49.41).
Senior Dana LaRue is a five-time all-conference honoree, as well as a two-time Summit League champion in shot put, also ranking in the top-five in program history in both the indoor shot put and weight throw.
"We want to get some experience for our Sprinters, Jumpers, and Throwers," Beauchem added. "We want to see where we are right now and we want to come out of the meet healthy."