“Ringo” adds Boston meet to schedule to focus on NCAA qualifications

Aspen McMillan competes in an event earlier this year. Photo courtesy of Rowan Athletics

It’s only been a solid two weeks into school and some are already getting grades back.

Derick “Ringo” Adamson isn’t one to hand out participation trophies or be unrealistic with his teams. He’s more of an architect, wanting to go into every detail of every meet and see where to improve come not only for the next competition, but for the practices that will come before it. Not harsh in with the way he formats his grading scale and expectations, Adamson is a coach that wants all of his team’s to find their true potential.

That’s why he gave his Rowan women’s track and field team a B- on their first meet back from break in mid-January.

“We came back from that break and after the first meet I said to all of them just like we were in a classroom, I said ‘If this is a classroom and I were to give you a grade [on your performance], what would some of you give yourself? Be honest,” Adamson said. “Some things were shabby. So Aspen [McMillan], All-American hurdler, put her hands up and said ‘B-.’ I said ‘that’s pretty funny. That’s why you’re a senior.’ I gave them a B-.”

Some rust had been shaken off by the time the team headed to Ithaca College this past weekend for the Bomber Invitational. So much so that the team’s grade improved ever so slightly.

“[I’d give them a] Solid B,” Adamson said.

But hence the second word two paragraphs ago. Not all of that rust has been removed.

“For instance, this time last year, you take Aspen,” Adamson continued. “She would knock down like 8.91 in the 60 meter hurdle. She was nine flat [this weekend]. See what I’m saying? You have to look at the main players now, that’s where most of the amount of points are coming from. After this week, after a tune-up, they will all know now [where they are].”

But where some aspects of the team might be a bit behind compared to earlier in the season or even last, others are showing out.

“I don’t know if people have realized this, but shot put and the weight throw have been our Achilles Heel,” Adamson said. “That’s how we lost the conference meet two years ago because we didn’t have any field people. If it was just track, we would’ve killed everyone. But it’s track and field. So we went out and did some good recruiting.”

That recruiting has clearly showed this year, as sophomore Olivia Scattergood broke a Rowan school record with a distance of 45′ 8.50″ in the weight throw at the Moravian Invitational. Freshman Makayla Taylor has been exceptional in the shot put as well, posting a season-best 41’ 5” at the Ithaca Bomber Invitational.

And it just got a bit better early Tuesday afternoon.

“Guess who just walked in here? A 39-foot shot putter that’s been sitting around school here came in,” Adamson said. “I was recruiting her all the time, never knew she was here and she said she changed her mind and wants to join. We just got another one. 39-footer in high school. That’s a blessing in disguise.”

Coming up, Ringo will have some members of the team head to Boston for two days at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational and others going to the FastTrack National Invitational for a day meet on Friday due to conditions for certain events and getting extra work in for those on the cusp of NCAA qualifications.

“If I take the hurdles and jumpers, it [Boston] is not a good place to [do that],” Adamson said. “They never built the track facility for that. It was built for distance running. You’ll never see jumping because you’d be jumping into a wall.”

Junior Hannah Vendetta will run the mile on Friday night in Boston because Adamson believes she can hit a time of under five minutes and it can get her warmed up for Saturday. Vendetta’s best mile time is 5:07.66 that she set last year at the All-Atlantic Region Conference Championships. Her current best this season is 5:14.29.

The chance to have some warm up and attempt to have better times, just as he is doing with his best mile-runner, before competition on Saturday afternoon, is a no-brainer to Adamson.

“I have these two meets here set up basically for a purpose,” Adamson said. “In Boston, I think I have a distance medley that if they don’t qualify for the National Championship, they’re going to get awfully close. I think I’m bright enough to figure out one other thing. A part of the distance team, a leg of it, is the 400 meters. They are going to be there two days anyway, right? So I said ‘Hm, okay. If we are going to go for this, going all the way up there, we may go for everything.’ You have a whole day rest before that distance medley on Saturday evening, right? So Alyssa Sanders will go and run an eight (800 meters). You’re going to warm up anyway. You come back for the second race, you’re going to run faster. All of the sudden I realize, have Myiah [Sturdivant] run the 400 [meters], she’s a Conference Champion… Why should I have people go up there and sit a day to rest?”

Now with all of Adamson’s ideologies set into place, the next thing for the team to do is to just perform at their respective places this upcoming weekend.

“Everybody knows that the job is,” Adamson said. “We are going to go get it and execute. Life is pressure. Get used to it. If you don’t set goals then what are you doing it for?”

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