Following a disappointing sixth place finish in the previous campaign, the DLSU Lady Tracksters are aiming for a better result in Season 81. The DLSU Green Tracksters, meanwhile, are looking to finally land the championship after ending the last two seasons at third place.
The LaSallian was able to speak with the team captains of both the women’s and the men’s teams to share their insights about the upcoming season.
Lady Tracksters look on achieving their goal
The Lady Tracksters were not impressed with their finish in Season 80. “UAAP Season 80 [was] not a good season for us kasi pang sixth place kami. We [aimed] for fourth or fifth that time, but we failed,” team captain Angeli Din said after coming up just short. This year, the Lasallians look to finally achieve their goal.
The Lady Tracksters hope that their new rookies will provide a massive boost to the team, as they will field six rookies this upcoming season. The said rookies are Kristine Begata, Sofia Cuevas, Ysabel Clarianes, Daniella Daynata, Princess Desepeda, and Laila Domingo. Aside from this, former team captain Shaira Hernandez will finally make her return after missing last season due to a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament.
With help coming in, the Taft-based squad is aiming higher this coming season. “We expect to finish in fourth place this season. Even if kulang kami sa long distance runner, I believe na kaya namin with the help din ng rookies,” Din responded when asked about their expectations for this season.
(Even if we lack long distance runners, I believe we can do it with the help of the rookies.)
Improvement in mind, the Lady Tracksters are also aware of the competition they are up against. “UP yung lagi naming kalaban sa slot ng third or fourth place. Sa first and second kasi FEU and UST ang naglalaban. For me, this season is different kasi mas madaming rookies kaya may chance na may pagbabago [in] ranking,” Din responded when asked who were the teams to beat.
(UP is always the team we [compete with] for the third or fourth place. For the first and second, FEU and UST are the contenders. For me, this season is different because we have a lot of rookies, so there is a chance for our ranking to change.)
On the other hand, the change of schedule was an unexpected change for the Lady Tracksters. “Since nalipat kami sa first [semester], medyo nagulat yung most of the members of the team, but still yung preparation namin for this season is enough. May mga konting adjustments, pero naka-adapt naman kami agad,” shared Din when talking about the necessary adjustments.
(Since we were moved to the first semester, most of the members of the team were shocked, but our preparation for this season is enough. We made small adjustments but we were able to adapt immediately.)
Din is hoping to finally lead the Lady Tracksters to a podium finish this season. When asked what her role is now that she is captain, she said, “As a team captain, my role is to motivate my teammates and unite them as we enter this season. We are aiming for fourth place this season.”
After working hard offseason, a motivated and rejuvenated Lady Tracksters team is looking to finally achieve the goal they set for themselves.
Green Tracksters target another podium finish
Alvin Vergel shared that the Green Tracksters performed well individually and as a team last season. “Several of my team members hit personal bests, which resulted in the team placing third overall,” he explained.
The team captain also added that he was proud of his teammates’ efforts because they were able to record a podium finish even though they lacked enough members, as the other teams had five to seven more athletes compared to them. In order to compensate for their numerical disadvantage, his teammates had to join more events to obtain points for the team. It was a grueling task according to Vergel, but the Green Tracksters were able to pull it off.
With the UAAP board moving the sport from the second semester to the first, the Green Tracksters definitely had to adjust. “That actually means we’ll be having two UAAP seasons in one year which is a challenge itself. We were actually only informed that the schedule was changed last June,” Vergel disclosed.
Despite the short preparation for Season 81, Vergel and his teammates were still able to compete in a preseason tournament, the National Open, which took place last June. “[It] put us against athletes from all over the country. It was a good experience for everyone competing in that kind of caliber.”
As for his role of being the team captain, the Lasallian said that he wants to guide his teammates reach their highest potential inside and outside the field. “It is my responsibility to show my team what it takes to reach our goals as individuals and as a team. In addition, I have to motivate them to give it their all not only in their sport but also in their academics.”
Lastly, Vergel is longing for his team to put in the work and maintain their fighting spirit from last season as they push for another podium finish this season. After losing last year’s team captain Michael Del Prado, and teammates Roland Malate, John Rey Moreno, and Erwin Parcon due to graduation, Vergel expects this season to be a challenge. He says it will be a battle until the last day of the competition, but if they execute the game plan of their coaches, the results will eventually show.