By Hank Wickley
The track and field team, only a few weeks into the season, has set the bar high already. Starting off the yeah with a fourth-place finish at the Aquinas Quad Open, the squad hopes to continue to succeed.
In order to do well early in the season, preparation is the key, say coaches. The preseason is the time of when athletes are in the weight room and on the track, getting in the extra work on their own time in order to elevate their game.
“Conditioning and lifting are two very important components,” said head track and field Coach Matt Chovanec. “Each specialty was given a specific workout plan to follow during the preseason, both lifting and conditioning wise, with the expectation that it must be done and done correctly,” added Chovanec.
Giving specific direction for each athlete during the offseason is key for establishing the discipline needed once the season arrives, he added.
“In the preseason our team focuses on gaining strength in the weight room and getting in the best shape possible so that when the season hits, we have a solid foundation to work from,” said Payton Hirschenberger (‘20). Hirschenberger and his teammates have been grinding all year in order to prepare for this season.
Once it arrives, however, things are slightly different for these athletes.
“During the season, our team focuses on maintaining the foundation we built with room to grow,” said Hirschenberger. This means scaling back on the strength training aspect slightly, and focusing more on the technical side of our events.” And by focusing on the technical side of their events, the track and field team has certainly excelled.
Sophomores Hirschenberger and Mitrzyk set career bests in the triple jump and the long jump respectively.
“Long jump is a very technical field event and it always feels good to lengthen my distance in the pit,” said John Mitrzyk (‘20).
“It felt great to achieve a PR in triple jump because I have been working hard to do so,” said Hirschenberger. It is safe to say that their work in the preseason helped contribute to this success, but the team is not ready to stop.
“I am not satisfied. I plan on to improve by continuing to learn more about triple jump form and to continue to push my body,” said Hirschenberger.
“I plan on improving my long jump distance by sticking with my strength training program and by keeping a positive mindset,” said Mitrzyk.
As for the rest of the team, continuing to do well is the only option.
“We just need to continue trusting the process and do things correctly. I know it sounds cliché, but there are really no shortcuts,” said coach Chovanec.
“Being a successful collegiate track and field athlete, or for that matter any collegiate athlete, is about lifestyle and balance.” Coaches and athletes say this is true for any team on campus, and the track and field team hopes to continue its success by staying on course this season, and like their coach said, trusting the process.