Sprinting Into The End Of The Indoor Track Season
By Ethan Hoffman-- Eagle Sports Editor
The Franklin County Indoor Track is already three meets deep into the 2022-23 season, with 1 more on the way. The “Polar Bear” meet at Staunton River High School is scheduled for Feb. 4th, plus the eventual regional meet at the Virginia Beach Sports Complex later on in the year.
Last season, the Indoor Track team brought home states championships in the 1600m events, but the loss of key seniors Kylie Cooper and Nathan Atchue has given a challenge to the team this season. Coach Chris Renick had this to say about the team last season: “We had a good senior class. A lot of guys stepped up and became leaders from their command. It was a really good season.”
Renick states he is now looking forward, saying that this season the team still has the same goals as they did last year. “We wanted to get more runners to states. We wanted personal records. We've set a lot of personal records. We already have three guys who qualified for states.”
Seniority has been a major issue for the girls team, especially with the previously mentioned losses last season. “We’re very young on the girl's side. It’s just one senior girl versus 12 senior boys,” Renick commented.
The lack of seniority doesn’t mean they don’t have leadership, according to Renick. “The younger girls are stepping up as leaders. Madison Pagans, she's stepping up as a captain. Julianne Bowman is coming along well as a leader for the team. They’ve really stepped up.”
Indoor Track is a unique sport for the area, especially with it happening in the dead of winter. “There's nowhere locally to go indoors for practice,” Renick mentioned.
For the past several weeks the team has had to practice on the outdoor track in the cold weather, even having to settle for the weight room in some circumstances when the weather is too brutal to practice in. Bowman commented, “Some days, I wonder why I run indoor track because it's absolutely miserable running outside in the winter [for practice]. It's super windy and a lot of times I can't even feel my legs. I can barely run at all when I've got frigid winds stinging my face.”
Another unique aspect of Indoor Track as a sport is the absence of students at their events. Unlike the football and basketball teams, the Indoor Track team doesn’t benefit from having a rowdy student section attending the game.
“It’s mainly just parents and family going to our meets … We get a very slim student turnout,” Renick commented.
While the Indoor Track events are as far as an hour away from the high school, Renick says two other factors limit student turnout. “Track is such a long day and the prices of getting in are rising every year.”
Still, coaches and student-athletes on the team agree the season has gone well through the first couple of meets. “Everyone that has been putting the work in has been improving leaps and bounds … I couldn't be happier with this season so far!” Bowman concluded.
Students at FCHS can support the Indoor Track team by attending their meets and cheering on their peers. While they may have a bit of a drive to get there, it’s no less of a drive for those who attend away football or basketball games during their respective seasons. You can find the Indoor Track schedule at blueridgedistrictva.org.