Q&A with Coach: Sherman Hart, track and field

Men’s and women’s head track coach Sherman Hart is back for another season hoping to lead the Huskies to Colonial Athletic Association and NCAA championships this year.  In the last five seasons, the Huskies have placed in the top-six in their conference. The Northeastern football player graduated from Northeastern in 1974 after earning degrees in economics and humanities. As a high schooler in Washington D.C., graduating from Archbishop Carroll High in 1969, he was a member of the record-setting mile relay team.

Huntington News: You’re coaching your 23rd season. What brought you back?
Sherman Hart: I’m a Husky, so I graduated from Northeastern. So I’m home, I like it here. I like everything about the school. When I actually go out and recruit, I’m not recruiting just to try and sell you to come to Northeastern. I believe in Northeastern itself. It’s a place for me that is home and I really do believe in this school and [think] that they’ve done a great job over the years academically.

HN: With 27 incoming freshmen, this is one of the largest freshman recruitment classes we’ve had. What have they brought to the team?
SH: Their ability to handle pressure. I’m pleasantly surprised at their ability to handle pressure. That’s always the biggest thing with freshmen, “I’m a freshman and I’m in college.” But this team doesn’t seem like they are conscience of that. They go out and compete, and compete well.

HN: From the freshman class, who do you have your eye on? Who has really stepped up to the challenge?
SH: [Hurdler] Jared Lane, he’s done very, very well. He’s a freshman from New Jersey. [Sprinter] Victoria Alexander from New York, has done well. Also, [sprinter] Monet Brathwaite, local kid, has done very well. In the freshmen guys, I think Stephan Sollowin, a distance runner, has done an outstanding job as well.

HN: Of returning runners, throwers and jumpers, who has already contributed the most?
SH: [Sophomore] Eric Jenkins is tearing it up all over the place. He’s doing extraordinarily well. On the women’s side, [junior] Jilena Decarteret has done an outstanding job in coming back. We got [senior jumper] Nia Howard back, who is healthy. She won a couple of events at this same event last year and later dislocated her ankle tripping on a railing. We got her back this year and she seems to be back to full strength. I’m really excited about that. [Senior thrower] Patrick Jablonski is going extremely well. He ended up his season well last year and doing really well. The most pleasant surprise is Julia Westover in throwing events. She’s throwing the weight out of her mind. I’m loving every minute of it right now, just kind of sitting back and enjoying the ride.

HN: What about the jumpers?
SH: Sophomore Kaylin Miranda jumped extremely well last week. We just got [sophomore] Andrew Staples back off co-op, he jumped well. He place last week as well. [Sophomore] Georgia Pingue is jumping well. My jumpers are the strength of this team in some respects. I know I’m guaranteed points from them wheresever I go.

HN: The men’s team placed third out of 26 teams last week in New York. How’d that meet go?
SH: I was very pleased with that meet. I was very pleased in that we went in with that type of competition and we really performed well. That’s really what I was looking for. I was looking for us to continue to do the things we’ve done. We’ve been local for the first couple of meets, but to go down there and see Villianovia and teams like that and actually compete, and compete well. I mean, I thought we did an outstanding job this weekend. Not to say that I’m dancing in the streets yet, because we still have some improvement, but we did an excellent job down there and I think we are going in the right direction. At this point, I think the team is clicking on all cylinders.

HN: What is the right direction? Where do you want to be in at the end of the indoor season?
SH: The final direction for us is winning championships. It’s kind of like the Patriots. A few years ago they won 19, 21 games in a row, but when you lose the Super Bowl, it doesn’t matter. For us to win it all, winning a CAA championship is very important for us. Right now, we are just trying to get in the right direction. We don’t really have a conference championship for indoors. We do have the New Englands, and we’re certainly going to go after that. The biggest meets for us this season will be the NCAA Championship. That’s first and for most on our minds and everything after that is pretty much gravy. Winning New Englands, going to nationals, all the rest of that stuff, which I know we’re going to be able to do this year. First thing is first, we need to take care of the conference. That’s the ultimate goal for us and that’s what makes a great season.

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