For 135 athletes, months of hard work will soon pay off. Both men’s and women’s indoor track and field athletes have been training since mid-October and, finally, on Friday Dec. 9, they will have their first meet at Houghton College. As the rest of Geneseo students are slowly trying to survive until the end of the semester, bogged down by finals, the winter track teams are gearing up for the beginning of their season. The athletes will go home for a shorter winter break before coming back to school early in order to continue developing skills and improving for track.
They will have about a three-week layoff period, which will allow them to come back with more energy after having some time to relax at home. After the invitational at Houghton, the teams’ next meet will not be until mid-January at Utica College, which is before the rest of the campus returns to start the spring semester.
“The expectations are basically the same,” head coach Christopher Popovici ‘06 said, a Geneseo alumnus who is starting his second year as head coach of the track and field program. “We want each athlete to develop and improve individually. We want to win, and we have a really good shot at doing that.”
For the first few months of practice, athletes have primarily been working on weight training and conditioning. Now that the meets are coming up quickly, though, they will shift into more specific work.
There are multiple different events for men’s and women’s winter track, such as sprinting, hurtling, throwing, distance running and pole-vaulting. Even within those specified areas, there are some athletes who compete in multiple events.
This makes “lots of gears move at one time” and often marks a hectic season. The coaching staff must be able to tackle overseeing all of the athletes, meeting with them to offer advice and guidance.
It might take a lot for the winter track teams to work smoothly, but they definitely do. Popovici praises his athletes, calling them “very experienced” and “some of the best in the country.”
Notably, Popovici mentioned senior jumper Alexa Wandy, who will be one of the members poised to lead the team this season. Whether it be at a national level or at a conference level, Popovici and the coaching staff expect hard work and improvement from every athlete. These high standards are aided by a demanding practice schedule, where the teams work two and a half hours a day for six days a week.
Another important aspect that is incorporated into the transition to the winter track season is helping the freshman athletes assimilate. They’ve had to acclimate both to the specific Geneseo programs as well as the collegiate track program as a whole.
No one is worried, though; with such large teams for men and women, as well as a supportive coaching staff, the freshmen will look like naturals in no time.
While many people detest winter and the seemingly never-ending cold and snow, the men’s and women’s track teams are gearing up for winter all year. They are excited for the season and are looking to work hard and stay healthy, Popovici said.