Indoor track team opens season at Dakota Dome

Michael Pecha

Michael Pecha

As Christmas break gets closer, most of us start to get lazy in preparation for the weeks ahead when we can be even more lazy.

This is not the case for the South Dakota State track and field team. Having just completed their first indoor track meet of the season, the Jackrabbits now prepare to continue training over Christmas break.

“The first meet went very well for our athletes,” said head coach Paul Danger. “We are significantly farther than we were at this point last year. I am very pleased with our sprinters, hurdlers and jumpers. Coach Scheid is doing a great job with this group. Our 400 meter runners were two and three seconds faster than last year. That is a big step in the long sprints.”

Jason Fries jumped one foot farther in the long jump than he did last year, and another jumper, Jamie Keck, is poised to be one of the top competitors in the North Central Conference this year.

Other key performers were Matt Pearson, Brad Lowery, Greg Darbyshire, Kevin Doe and Erin Woolley.

Pearson set a NCAA provisional qualifying time in the mile with a 4:13. Lowery ran 4:16 in the same event. Darbyshire ran 14:54 in the 5000 meter run, which was a provisional qualifying time. Doe finished four seconds behind Darbyshire, only seconds from a provisional time.

Woolley dominated the women’s one mile run, winning in 5:14. Even with these impressive performances, the work isn’t done. The Jacks must continue to train in order to be ready to perform when their break ends. The first step to success for the distance runner is actually to not run at all.

“The distance runners who competed in cross country will go into a recovery phase for two weeks,” said Danger. “The importance of a planned recovery break for distance runners is vital to compete the way we do. They have been training very hard since last June, hence, the body must recover before we set off again.”

The rest of the team will continue to train until break. Once break begins, then it is up to the individual athlete to be his or her own coach for a few weeks. It does not take long for a track athlete to lose all he has worked for, so continuing to train over break is important.

“The next meet is on January 12th at North Dakota State University,” said Danger. “Although that is a way off, the demands of the collegiate athlete do not relax. Our track athletes train hard over the break in order to return at the same condition they were in when they left school. You must do this to reduce the chance of injury that can happen when changes are made in training.”

If all the athletes do their part over break, and return in shape, then the road to a high finish at conference will be that much easier. Danger is excited about this prospect.

“I look forward to this indoor season coming up,” said Danger. “The staff which includes Nolan Wolkow, Jason Tuttle, Nick Burrow, and Marcus Scheid, have done a great job in preparing our team. I think the balance with our track events this year will be exciting.”

So as the average college student sits in the comforts of a warm, cozy house this Christmas break, some people are out there running in the snow and cold weather.

They aren’t crazy, they are just doing their part to stay in shape for the upcoming track and field season.

The Jacks first action in 2002 will be at the North Dakota State Open on Jan. 12.