Captains Greta Sirek and Lauren Hansen have both been running track since 6th grade. As a senior, Hansen looks back on her track career with pride and a bit of nostalgia although, according to her, the fact that this is her last season hasn’t quite sunk in yet. “It just always seemed like something I did in the spring,” Hansen said.
When runners arrive at track practice, they start with their warm up. “We do two laps around the track, and do drills. Then we start our workout,” junior Larry Chen said.
After warming up, they split into groups. These groups are decided by coaches at the beginning of the season based on athletes’ strengths. Runners can give input about what events they would like to try, but ultimately, the decision is left to the coaches. These groups are part of what make track such a unique sport. “Practices are really different depending on what your favorite events are,” sophomore Eliza Reedy said.
While this is only Reedy’s second year running track, she has run cross country and Nordic skied for four years. “I think track, as a community, is really different. There are a lot more people, so there’s a lot more energy at practice,” Reedy said.
However, traditions can be difficult with such a large group. “When we show up at a meet, there’ll be people who are doing their event in half an hour and there will be people who are doing nothing for the next 4 hours, so everyone’s on a different schedule,” Reedy said.
Rituals and traditions seem to reflect the nature of the sport – sometimes group focused, but more often individual. For Sirek, this means music. While her favorite pump up song changes each year, there are a few classics. Last year, her go-to was Gwen Stefani’s Hollaback Girl. “We kind of leave it up to the individual to decide what they want to do. I always listen to my favorite pump-up music,” Sirek said.
When it comes to advice for new team members, Chen says to expect more fun. “It’s a lot less of a grind than you think it is. Like, it is still a hard sport. A lot of work goes in. But it’s not as painful as straight running sounds,” Chen said.
Sirek encourages new team members to persevere. “Running is a skill that you can learn,” Sirek said. “In the first week of practice it’ll be hard to get through the warm-up, but then by the end of the season you’ll be running a mile with a PR [Personal Record] and it’ll just feel so great.”
The next track meet is on Apr. 24 @ 4:30 P.M. at Mounds Park Academy.