The indoor track season is now in full swing after kicking off on Dec. 3 at the Christopher Newport University Holiday Opener, where members of UMW’s cross country and track teams come together as the indoor team. They will compete in three more meets before the Coast-to-Coast Championships in Newport News on Feb. 18 and the NCAA Division III National Championships on March 10.
“Outdoor track is the ideal time for athletes to hit their best competition marks of the season,” said Head Coach Asia Hart. “But one of the best benefits of having indoor track is that you get a few opportunities before that season starts to have a trial and error period. It pays off a lot because you figure a lot out indoors which allows you to be a lot more consistent with your races, jumps, throws, etc. throughout the outdoor season.”
UMW’s indoor team proved they can still dominate the track no matter the environment with several top finishes at the CNU Holiday Opener. Senior Kevin Munson placed first in the pole vault, while freshman Jacinto Jones won the 200-meter race and senior Patrick Murphy came in second in the mile with a time of 4:45.46. For the women, junior Maddie Phillips took third in the pole vault with senior Haileigh Byrd landing third in the long jump and second in the 60-meter hurdle race.
Jones runs as a sprinter on both the indoor and outdoor track seasons and noted some of the key differences between the two. The biggest change is the track size: an indoor track is 200 meters, half the length of an outdoor track.
The training also changes with the season.
“Depending on what you will run, you will have a different workout to get you ready for a certain or all events that the coach thinks you are ready to run,” said Jones.
According to Hart, there’s a lot of overlap in the indoor and outdoor team members.
“There’s always extenuating circumstances involved if someone would participate in indoors and not outdoors and vice versa,” Hart said. “It definitely builds a great team atmosphere and you really get to develop deeper relationships having the majority of the team do both seasons in the spring.”
Indoor track also allows athletes to stay in shape and come into the spring outdoor track season on top of their game.
“Essentially each season will build upon the previous season,” said Hart. “Our student-athletes will be running their best times of the season.”
Ian Chapman, a senior majoring in communication and digital studies, participates in both the indoor and outdoor track seasons as a sprinter. He finds that indoor somewhat feels like an entirely different sport.
“The environment is totally different,” he said. “A lot of people say they prefer outdoor to indoor.”
The runners will get one week to rest before starting up the outdoor season with the Washington & Lee Carnival meet on March 17.