While the majority of the student body is typing the last page of their research papers or living in the library until finals are over, Elizabethtown College’s men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams are busy preparing for their first meet of the season – the Haverford Holiday Meet. The Blue Jays, who have been practicing with the captains since the second week of school, will have the chance to put their hard work to the test against conference opponent Widener University and other schools this Saturday, Dec. 10.
This meet will serve as an excellent starting point for the team’s indoor season, for Etown has more than a month until their next meet – the Mountain Hawk Multi and Invite on Jan. 20-21. “It is always hard to know what to expect at the first meet, but it gives everyone a starting point to work from,” junior captain Ashley Lockwood said. “As long as everyone gives his or her best effort and leaves everything on the track/runway/throwing circle, that’s all we can ask for.”
The events for indoor track and field are slightly modified from their outdoor counterparts because there is less space for the events inside of the field houses. According to junior captain Luke Rotenberger, fewer events are offered during the indoor season, and the indoor track is only 200m long, as opposed to 400m. “This means any running event will have twice the amount of turns indoor as opposed to outdoor, and more turns is bad,” Rothenberger said.
Sophomore thrower Lucas Dayhoff also mentioned the differences between the two seasons for throwers. “The biggest difference is the [throwing] circle is wooden, which means the circle is much faster. Also, instead of the 16-lb. hammer, we throw the 35-lb. bag,” he said. Lockwood pointed out that throwers also compete with the shot put in the indoor season, but they only throw the discus and javelin in the spring season.
Although the training for these events is very similar to training for the outdoor events, sophomore Monica Loranger stated that having better indoor facilities would help the team tremendously. “We do not have the appropriate amount of space to practice specific events inside, which makes it a challenge to practice,” she said. Still, Loranger described the teams as a “determined group.” Lockwood agreed, stating, “This year’s team has shown nothing but endless effort since the start of the season.”
After the Haverford Holiday Meet, the Blue Jays will have to do a majority of their training individually over winter break. “Training alone for a sport like track and field is much more difficult physically and psychologically when you are alone rather than with your teammates and coaches,” Rotenberger said.
However, the team typically steps up to the challenge, and the athletes employ a variety of different methods to help them follow Head Coach Joel Hoffsmith’s workout. Dayhoff commented that he plans to work out at a local gym, as well as revisit his high school team to practice throwing with his former coach. Senior captain Chris Niles believes “that the team will train as hard as they can and really push it to come back from break and be in the same shape or even better [than] before.”
The indoor season concludes with the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Indoor Championship Feb. 25 and for those who qualify, the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships March 3-4. However, the teams do not take a break from training, because the outdoor season commences with the Jim Taylor Invitational on March 31. Rotenberger would also like to remind everyone that “Outdoor MACs are at Etown this year, and we would love to hear fellow students cheering us on!”