The men’s and women’s track teams begin their respective seasons this weekend, with the men’s team set to host their annual Blue-White Alumni Meet, while the women’s team will compete in the Aiden Invitational in Providence, Rhode Island.

The University of Rhode Island men’s track and field team had a season where they finished first place as a team in five events last year. However last year’s team did not win the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament or the New England Championships at the end of the season. Head coach John Copeland looks forward to seeing his athletes back and healthy in a competition setting.

“The big problem we had last year was the number of injuries we had across the board in a lot of different events, which really cost us two championships,” Copeland said.  “We hope that is the major factor between us reaching our expectations or not.”

The men return a talented and experienced team with a stronger mentality because of their success last season. Senior Ondrej Honka is always a threat to win the heptathlon as well as excel in his specialty, the pole vault. Senior Michael DiMambro will give the team versatility, as he has the last few years, in the heptathlon, an event in which he earned second last year, as well as being a force off the blocks as a sprinter.

“I like the fact that we have got some good leadership going on right now with our captains, and there is a very positive attitude looking at the championship meets,” Copeland said. “The New England Championships and the Atlantic 10 Championships indoor and outdoor are both meets we have won 20 times over the program’s history,  so we look forward to getting after another two.”

This Saturday at 1 p.m. is the team’s Blue-White Alumni Meet and their first official meet will be Jan. 7.

The women’s track team will return to action in Providence at Brown University for the Alden Invitational Meet at the Olney Margolies Athletic Center this weekend where the team earned four individual first place victories last year. They return as a team that only won one invitational last season, but return with wealth of experience with 13 seniors on the roster.

Over the summer, the women’s team earned recognition from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) for the team’s academic achievements last year. The team had a combined 3.14 grade point average. The team enters this weekend’s competition, following a promising 2015-16 season, with lofty expectations to place highly in all of their competitions.

“I like the fact that we have got some good leadership going on right now with our captains, and there is a very positive attitude looking at the championship meets,” Copeland said. “The New England Championships and the Atlantic 10 Championships indoor and outdoor are both meets we have won 20 times over the program’s history,  so we look forward to getting after another two.”