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By DYLAN MALONE
Chicago has a pretty good hockey team. I don’t follow hockey as religiously as I do other sports but the streak that the Blackhawks are on it pretty amazing. They won their 11th straight game last night and scored points for the 24th consecutive game extending the record. That’s pretty stellar by hockey standards.
Anyways, had to get that out of the way.
Basketball is over and baseball and softball are not until April, which gave me the rare opportunity to witness a track meet on Saturday.
There were several schools that made their camp at center court of the IPFW Fieldhouse on Saturday and I mean that literally.
The set-up was amazing, one that made just about every high-schooler who participated in the day’s preliminary events stop and look around for a minute.
As I entered the gym, the roped off section forced me into a bottle-neck all the way up to the check-in table where IPFW officials were allowing kids to pass through to the track while simultaneously shooing parents back behind the rope who were unaware they weren’t allowed past.
Directly in front once past the gate was the shot put area. Just past where the athletes were throwing was another huge roped-off area where the schools were designated with a square for their equipment that was taped off.
There was a feeling of a campground as I looked around the area which expanded as long as a basketball court both in length and width. Every team in their school’s squares were doing their own thing in preparation for different events.
As I took in the sights I was convinced that this event was and is the equivalent of playing at Parkview Field for the baseball teams in the ACAC or the Coliseum for the basketballers.
It was a chance to really feel like a big shot for these kids.
You could tell right away which high schoolers were used to the setting already and which ones were most likely freshman or first-timers.
The seniors waiting for their events had their iPods in kicking back and laying on pillows. The frosh were huddled together as though plotting something but really they just didn’t know what to do with themselves in such a big venue.
It was neat to see such a great atmosphere for a track meet.
The parents made it great as well filling up the stands almost immediately and the rest stood along the rope-line awaiting their kid’s turn at pole vault or a track run.
I wasn’t sure what my opinion of track was at the time but I was not lost on how important it is for the students who partake in it. Obviously it takes a tremendous amount of endurance and strength to almost unlike any other sport.
My curiosity got the better of me, though, and I had to ask Bellmont’s coach Booker how the teams practiced for such a run-based sport on Monday.
I was a little shocked that I did not get an answer like, “We just run a lot.”
Coach Booker instead told me all about how the athletes usually run together at first, then break off into their own events fine-tuning what needs to be worked on. The sprinters and hurdlers go one way, and the field athletes go another. Then the sprinters and hurdlers break off.
It was all new to me.
Apparently it’s not just running, which is a good thing to find out. In high school, the only running I did was away from any track coach who may have asked me to join the team.
No one did, luckily. I know why now, though. You have to be able to run fast to be in track and that’s a talent the good Lord chose not to bless me with, I’m afraid.
Props and praise to the athletes from all three county schools who put so much time and effort into running track and field. I really respect the amount of work it takes to be a state-contending team, which the Squaws are undoubtably this year.
I can’t wait to see just how far coach Risch can push these girls. The athletic core that makes up the team is rock solid and will only get better as the season progresses.
Meanwhile, stay tuned for the DDD’s bracket challenge for college basketball. I’m working on some prizes for the winners. March Madness is officially here as the conference tournaments begin shortly. Next week’s column will highlight the details.
As always, thanks for reading.