The distance runners of the spring track team are using a new round of workouts to transition from the winter track season.
For those who participated in winter track, the current goal is to maintain fitness in order to succeed in races. “If they ran winter track, then we are in our third phase of training, which focuses on developing max speed and fatigue, … coupled with enough volume every week to ensure that they stay fit,” said distance coach James Smirk.
“In order to prepare for the upcoming season, we are starting to kick up our mileage,” said Jacob Rist ’15, who runs the 3200-meter and 800-meter events. The team will continue to work on speed by doing interval work a few days a week, in which the athletes focus on maintaining speed when tired.
The distance athletes that will be training across three seasons are now joined by some of their cross country teammates who did not participate in winter track, as well as newcomers to the program. These newer runners will take a few more weeks to develop a volume base before starting interval work.
According to Smirk, the team’s training is designed to develop a strong work ethic, which contributes to the team’s success. “You learn things from the kids that are better than you, you learn things from the kids who are learning, and you become a better athlete because of it,” said Smirk. “So that’s our biggest advantage of training together.”
1600- and 3200-meter runner Mary Sutton ’15 also agreed that teamwork is vital to the team dynamic. “It is always about running in the end, but it’s also about your teammates helping you do your best.”
However, teammates are not the only positive side to the training; “At the end of the day when you have a moment of success on the track, it makes all of the [intense workouts] worth it,” Smirk said.
Sprints and Throws:
This season, the sprinting and throwing sections of both of the spring track teams are facing challenges that they look to overcome.
With the track under construction, the teams “need to address where [they] are going to have practices,” said Natalie Loughran ’16. Although the new turf was completed during the fall, the new track has yet to be finished.
However, the sprinting and throwing coach Rashone Johnson looks to the situation to bring out the best in the team. “A strength [of our team] is going to be our ability to adapt to an ever-changing training situation,” said Johnson.
Although their training location will vary, the athletes “will train as if the problem does not exist, and do everything in [their] power to get better,” said throwing captain, Riley Kotowski ’14.
Additionally, the girls have lost many sprinters in the winter season to lacrosse this spring, such as Emilia Lopez-Ona ’14 and Oona Ryle ’15. Along with losing girls to lacrosse, previous sprinters, such as Mia Quinn ’13 and Alyssa Glover ’13, have now graduated. The program has been thin on sprinters for a couple of years—Princeton did not enter a single girl into last year’s Sectional 100-meter dash. According to Loughran, the team hopes to train new freshman and sophomore recruits to fill these gaps.
With the loss of seniors such as thrower Timmy Brennan ’13, the boys sprinters and throwers will likely be a younger group this year as well.
“It’s a hit for the team,” said Kotowski, “but we have a lot of fast guys now, for example Joe Gray [’15], so I think we’ll be able to fill those gaps.”
Regardless, Johnson said, “If everybody is training correctly, at the end of the season everybody should be peaking at the right time.”
The main goal is to maintain a high level of intensity throughout the season so that athletes can peak for championship meets. “If you’re feeling comfortable, then that means you’re not working hard enough,” said Brandon Yao ’14.
As the snow melts and the spring track season heats up, the jumpers look to place in more dual meet events. To do this, both the boys and girls teams have been training to intensify their program.
“Instead of having one guy who can place in a dual meet, we want two or even three guys who can place in each event,” said David Cohen ’16. “Jumps is the event group that we usually lose points in and that’s why we lose meets sometimes. We want to have a competitive jump team, and [also] a team that can better reflect how good everyone is instead of losing points where we don’t need to.”
On the boys side, jumping coach Ben Samara said that he is excited by the talent level of the team. Four long jumpers are capable of jumping over 19 feet, and by the end of season, there will be multiple triple jumpers that can jump over 40 feet. The boys team broke the indoor track triple jump relay and long jump relay records in the fall, and hopes to challenge the outdoor versions of these records this season.
The girls jumping team features two sophomore girls who can jump over 17 feet in the long jump.
“It’s the deepest crew of jumpers I’ve seen here in a really long time,” said Samara.
Maia Hauschild ’16, one of the two female long jumpers, was injured in the middle of the winter season with a lateral collateral ligament sprain. However, she was able to undergo rehab and recovered towards the end of February. Despite the setback, she said she “think[s] the spring season will be really promising.”
In order to make this season live up to that promise, the jumpers have been strengthening their legs through a combination of heavy lifting and plyometric jumping drills, in which they focus on doing higher and faster jumping repetitions on mats. Since the track has not been completed and practices at Jadwin Gym have come to an end, they are left without a place to actually practice long jumping and triple jumping. Still, Cohen remained optimistic. “If [we do] the practices right, they should be able to help us in competition,” he said.