Volume 107, Issue 8 Sports
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Track out runs Mother Nature

By Kelsey Gelhar
posted May 26, 2011

As various students roamed the halls and complained about the cold, snowy, and rainy spring weather that was preventing them from breaking out their summer clothes and toe exposing footwear, the track team had a bigger issue on hand. Its season was being interrupted by the persistent precipitation and, with the postseason approaching much more swiftly than the summer weather, the team had to adjust to Mother Nature�s will.

�Cancelled meets have affected our preparation for the postseason because, usually the day before the meet, you take it a little bit easier since they have the race the next day,� said Distance Coach Jason Ryf. �Then you go into race day and all of a sudden it�s cancelled and the kids are all pumped up to race, but they can�t. It throws a wrench into things about when we�re going to have workouts and when there are going to be easy days.�

Coach Lori Salzer agrees that the unusual spring climate has affected the teams.

�The weather has killed us. When you look at events like pole vault, throws, and sprints. You can�t vault in the rain or the cold, you can�t throw a discus upstairs, and it�s hard to do a work out and then recovery because you can�t stand around,� she said. �I think that towards the end of the season it gets really hard to come to practice and give it your all every day when you don�t know if you�ll be competing the next day.�

This ambiguous schedule did not lead to a decline in determination.

�They�re still working hard, and to be honest, I think it makes some of them want to work harder,� Ryf said. �It�s been a goofy year with the weather and the cancellation of meets with the weather. It took some time for us to be able to get on to the track so we couldn�t really do any track workouts or race pace stuff.�

Senior Josh Papenfuss agreed that the cancellations made it difficult to get on the right track.

�Overall, we missed a quite a few meets and they don�t really get rescheduled,� said Papenfuss. �We lost a lot of competition which helps us build our speed and helps us set the paces we�re supposed to go at. It made it really hard for us to make it to where we wanted to be without having all those meets.�

The team has tried to stay focused on the finish line.

�The goal is meet by meet. I always say that regionals is the do or die meet, because if you�re not in the top four, your season is over,� Salzer said. �Once you get to sectionals, it�s the top three that advance. We run a hard sectional and so the ultimate goal is to get to state for everybody, but not everyone will be able to do that.�

While taking the season one day at a time, Ryf has been making sure the boys are prepared for the meets that follow the regular season.

�We�re just trying to get the athletes to feel race ready. They�ve put in a lot of work and we�ve kind of beat them up on some days,� said Ryf. �It�s alright if they feel beat up for other races, but for regionals we want them to focus on race pace and feeling comfortable at that pace and to not feel beat up anymore, but to feel like they have a little bit of freshness left in their legs.�

The athletes are preparing their bodies for the postseason by practicing with intensity while simultaneously taking precautions to prevent injuries.

�We�ve been working hard,� said junior Brianna Hanson. �There�s less break time and more recovery, and the coaches are making sure we�re icing and taking care of ourselves.�

This strategy will help them prove that the efforts of this season were not washed away by the rain with the approaching regional and sectional tournaments.

�Now that it�s at the end of the season, when it really matters, I want them to start keying in on what they should be doing, like hitting their times, and feeling like they�re putting their work in and they�re ready to hit some personal records to finish off the season,� said Ryf.

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