When most people think of track, they imagine spongey turf beneath spiked feet, bleachers packed high under the sun, and runners braving whatever elements Mother Nature has kindly decided to throw at them. What people usually don’t think of is indoor track, a sport that requires its athletes to run circles around their outdoor counterparts – if only because the track is smaller. Laurie Hind, head coach of Jamestown’s indoor track team, sat down with the Jamestown Gazette to shed some light on this lesser- known running sport, discuss the challenges of training indoors, and highlight upcoming talent this year.
Cortney: Indoor track doesn’t get as much recognition as outdoor track. What can you tell me about the sport for people who aren’t familiar?
Coach Hind: Well, the indoor field events are nearly the same as outdoor, except there’s a weighted throw instead of a discus. But the running events are completely different because we work on shorter tracks. Our main competition venues are Fredonia State, Buff State, and Houghton College. The shortest events are a 55 meter dash and a 55 meter hurdle, and then the next shortest event jumps up to a 300. There is also a race walk in indoor track, but we don’t have anyone who competes in that event for Jamestown. Then there are the relays: there’s a 4 x 200 instead of a 4 x 100, a 4 x 400 and a 4 x 800. The meets are also a bit different. In outdoor, we compete against different schools for a league championship, whereas in indoor, there really are no team competitions. Everything’s pretty much strictly individual. At Jamestown, we really use indoor as a tool to help kids get in shape for the outdoor track season. We train twice a week on the track at the Northwest ice arena, and then we train at the school to do field events, hurdles, and strength training.
Cortney: What’s your team like? Any stand-out talents emerging this year?
Coach Hind: Indoor is a much smaller team, because a lot of our outdoor track athletes do other winter sports, but our enrollment is about thirty. Taylor Brightman is a junior who, in our very first meet, actually qualified for the sectional meet in the 55 meters and the triple jump. Brenin Dirling is a senior and is a stand-out in the 55 and the 300. Naciella Barber, who also is doing JV basketball this season, will be a standout in the 300 as well. Promyss Williams is a freshman who is slowly making her mark and I think she’ll do really well as the season goes on, as well as my jumper, Austin Wetherby.
Cortney: What are the challenges of coaching and training a track team indoors?
Coach Hind: I try to explain to the kids that the indoor season is not a sprint, it’s part of the marathon. Ideally, we want them healthy and doing their best at the end of June, as we get to the outdoor sectionals. So the commitment level has to be high. And you have to be committed through unusual practices: we run in the snow, we invent new ways to practice field events – because obviously we can’t pole vault or long jump into an actual pit. So you have to be willing to get creative. There’s also the challenge that indoor track is so individual. What you put into it is what you get out of it; the times don’t lie. There are advantages to coaching indoors, though: the kids spend a lot of time in the weight room, and they learn good habits and get much stronger. I think the kids who have participated in indoor track have really found it beneficial for their outdoor seasons, too.
Jamestown’s next indoor track meet will be held Saturday, Jan. 14 at Buffalo State College.
To read more of Cortney Linnecke’s creative and informative contributions to the Jamestown Gazette, please go to www.jamestowngazette.com.