BRIDGEWATER, Va. - The Bridgewater College track team is a week away from its first indoor meet of the New Year and like most teams in the ODAC, preparing for the indoor season can be a tough task when you don’t have an indoor track facility.
So far this season, the Eagles have caught a bit of a break with the weather. The early January days have included no precipitation and mild temperatures. The mild winter weather has allowed the Eagles to get some work done outside.
"You can never count on the weather at this time of the year, but you take advantage of good weather when you get it," head track coach Shane Stevens said. "We've had some pretty good days so far and the forecast is good for next week also."
Distance runners are going to get their miles in regardless of the temperature. Sprinters, jumpers and throwers however, have a tougher time getting in a quality workout when the thermometer drops.
“Of course, distance people would rather run in 50 degree weather instead of 20 degree weather,” assistant track coach Brian Flynn said. “But even when it’s cold, the distance people can get a decent workout.”
Not only is it tougher to get a quality workout, but the risk of injury is also higher for sprinters, jumpers and throwers in cold weather.
According to Flynn, the throwers are probably most affected during the indoor season.
“The lack of facilities and cold weather is probably toughest on the throwers,” Flynn said. “You can’t throw if there is snow in the circle. You really can’t bundle up and wear gloves and get any quality practice done in those events.”
The key for the coaching staff is being able to improvise.
“You have to do the best you can with what you have,” Flynn adde. “We use the hallways for our sprinters and jumpers with the jumpers landing on a mat. There have been times when the first time our jumpers have landed in a pit is their first indoor competition. In the past, we have worked on the shot some in the gym. Obviously, it’s not ideal, but you try to make the best of it.”
Once the competition begins, the athletes and coaches will finally have a way to measure just how far along they are in each event.
“Those early meets really serve as practice sessions for the athletes,” Flynn said. “As coaches we will use them as checkpoints to see where our people are and how they are progressing.” The team will have five weekends to prepare for the ODAC Indoor Championships to be held on Feb. 22 at Liberty University.
Thus far, the coaching staff has been pleased with the early efforts of the team members.
"We're very pleased with the numbers," Stevens said. "They're working hard and the attitudes have been good. We're optimistic about the upcoming season and we're anxious to go to a meet and see how we'll do."
The team will travel to Susquehanna University on Friday, Jan. 18 for the Orange & Maroon Classic.