Every team has its battles: the practices, the injuries and the daily juggle to balance school with sports. But unlike other sports teams, the indoor track team must overcome challenges unique to the season.
As one of the handful of winter sports available at Marshall, indoor track is handicapped by winter break early in the season. While it is possible for the team to plan around the break, the real issue is much more sporadic. Indoor track is the only winter sport to practice outside and is at the full mercy of the weather.
“We run in any kind of weather, unless it’s really freezing or it’s thundering and lightning,” sophomore Samantha Newman said.
Head coach Clifford Wong agrees, adding “It’s hard training in the winter, but it’s beneficial … As long as we dress properly.”
On Jan. 9, the track team continued its training outside during the first serious snowstorm this season. Weather reports cited the temperature at a low of 19 degrees that day with roughly an inch of snowfall accumulating during practice.
Fortunately, according to junior Nick Zirkle, the weather did not force players to quit practice early.
“We may have to deal with the snow, but we still work hard,” head coach Clifford Wong said.
Other than the snow, there have been no other significant weather developments during practice or meets.
The last two meets of the regular season were on Jan. 14; the first was a “regular” meet at Thomas Jefferson middle school and the other was the SMAC Invitational.
Though the regular season is over, qualifying players will be participating in District meets at the end of January, with finals on Feb. 2. According to Newman, District participants are either among the top three Marshall athletes in one of the 35 events or have beaten a certain time.
Zirkle, a three-year track veteran, will be competing in the two-mile at districts and hopes to break 11 minutes. To prepare for his event, Zirkle runs harder and longer both during practice and on the weekends, though he admits that he does not like running in the cold.