Start of boys track season

Track has officially started here at Normal Community.  Over 90 boys have been attending the indoor track workouts since January 8th until their first official practice, which was on February 13th.  This is the highest number of athletes NCHS boys track has ever had.

Although there has been some inclement weather for the first few weeks of practice, that hasn’t set them back one bit.  The track team practices indoors when the weather is not cooperating.  Obviously, their exercises are more limited indoors, but they are able to do some exercises such as stations in which they do strength training rather than running exercises.  In an effort to prevent shin splints, the runners don’t do any running or sprinting exercises indoors due to the harder surface.  They also practice by doing exercises in the shallow end of the pool.  These exercises include simulated running laps in the pool, tuck jumps, and lunges.

The track team has set the bar high by their performance from last year by finishing 3rd in the Big 12 conference.  When asked about last season’s performance, co-head coach Bryan Thomas stated, “No state qualifiers [last year], although many returning veterans [will] get the job done this year.”  He also commented on the current season by saying, “This year will be more competitive in the field events due to those same athletes being a year older and stronger.  We should also be a little more competitive in the hurdle events and long distance running as all of these events have veteran runners who all did well last year and will even do better this year.”

The track team already had a practice meet on February 22nd in which a handful of teams competed at the Shirk Center at Illinois Wesleyan University.  According to Coach Thomas, they consider all indoor events to be practice due to the fact that no high school has an indoor practice facility for track and only use it when inclement weather forces them to.  It is also very different from what they are used to.

Head Coach Patten will retire from teaching as well as coaching track for NCHS after 28 years at the end of this season.  There are currently 6 track coaches.  These coaches include: Coach Thomas (middle distance and throwing), Coach Patten (long distance), Coach Mann (sprints and horizontal jumps), Coach Kendrick Smith (sprints, hurdles and throwing), Coach Bovenkerk (middle distance and vertical jumps), and Coach Piepenbrink (pole vault and vertical jumps).