This winter, the track and field team will be pushing for more group-oriented goals in contrast to the individualized focus runners had in previous seasons.
“In track it is tough because it is very individualized. So what we try to do … is give [the team] a sense of team chemistry and relationship. We want them to understand that they are not out there just for themselves, they are out there for the success of the team. Because ultimately, we do get scored [as a team],” said Assistant Distance Coach Billy Hackmeister.
Even with an emphasis on scoring during meets, winter track is largely considered the training season for spring track. The team does strength training and plyometric, or jumping drills, at the high school and has the opportunity to train at Princeton University’s Jadwin Gym twice a week to get in more track-oriented workouts. Yet, with a change from Central Group 3 to North Group 3, the team is more ambitious with its goals this year.
“We are actually in Group 3 this year and we thought we were going to be in Group 4, which is more competitive, so we are going after the sectional title. That is definitely keeping us motivated,” said the girls sprinting captain Maia Hauschild ’16.
Most PHS teams were moved up to Group 4 during the fall season, but because there is an increase in the number of schools that have winter track and field programs, the team not only moved groups, but also regions.
According to Hauschild, a change in regional divisions and groups helps maintain a competitive attitude. “For us, it is about dominating. We already know what it is like to compete at the highest level, the most competitive level,” Hackmeister said. “And we want to go in and really completely take out the competition.”
The athletes believe that the potential for this year is higher than ever because of the team-oriented practices and motivation from the change in groups. In the process of preparing for the spring season, the team hopes to achieve its goal of winning the sectional title.
“There’s a real drive amongst the team to work hard as individuals so that the whole team can benefit,” said boys sprinting captain Jeremy Cohen. “I’ve been on the varsity track team for all four years [of high school] and this is the first time I’ve seen that drive in the majority of individuals at the level that I’m seeing it.”