|Local track teams survive the cold of Bearcat Relays|
|Monday, April 15, 2013 9:22 AM|
SPENCERVILLE — Track and field coaches in particular have been frustrated with the way the late winter and early spring weather has hindered their teams’ preparations for 2013.
That was so true in Friday night’s 37th annual Spencerville Bearcat Relays held at Charles Moeller Track at Spencerville High School.
The cold and windy conditions left many a coach thankful that they got through this 8-team invitational without injury and still had some solid results.
Spencerville’s boys took second behind Columbus Grove, while St. John’s was fifth and Jefferson sixth.
The Lady Bearcats were third behind Marion Local and the Lady Bulldogs; the Lady Blue Jays were fifth and the Lady Wildcats tied for seventh.
As host of the event, Spencerville coach Bruce McConnell had a lot more than he normally would like.
“This was a long day for us: we had a storm come in here Wednesday and did some damage to the pole vault area,” he began. “We saw a lot of water on the track when I came in here at 7 this morning and we worked hard to get it ready for tonight, especially since this was our first home meet.
“We’ve had several meets already where it was cold like this, so we haven’t had a lot of good weather to either compete in or practice in. Our pole-vaulters haven’t really jumped competitively in two weeks. Still, we had a lot of personal records set today, so we’re getting some things done despite what the weather has handed us.”
St. John’s boys mentor Dr. Jay DeWitt was relieved.
“I like to say it was a great day to race but that wasn’t so; we haven’t had many this spring. I have been coaching for 10 years and I don’t think it’s ever been this tough with the weather,” he explained. “We viewed this as a practice-plus: we were working on things we haven’t really had the chance to work on extensively, like handoffs and such, but trying to be reasonably competitive. We also viewed this as a conditioning as well because that has suffered.
“My goal is always to be preparing for the tournaments in May and June, so what we do now is focused on that, while hoping we stay healthy. You want to compete but really, when it’s like this, you hold your breath, cross your fingers, hope that no one gets hurt and you remain healthy.”
That was definitely on the mound of Lady Blue Jay coach Dave Desenberg.
“We kept our top two point-getters from last season and so far this season, Madison Burgei and Madison Kreeger, out today; they are nursing foot injuries and we just decided to keep them out,” he said. “We also had several girls at senior class trip, so we were competing with 15 girls. When you think about it, we did very well with all that.
“We didn’t want to stress them too much, so we didn’t run in three relays. The girls we had did well; we had a number of personal records and I think we got out of here with no more injuries. We survived: we competed well and got out of here healthy, which is the goal at this point of the season.”
Jefferson boys coach Bub Lindeman was thankful to just be competing.
“Any time you get some good competition, you’ll take it, even with weather a factor. Track and field is such that you will potentially run in any and all kinds of weather.,” he began. “I thought my seniors really did a nice job of making sure we were mentally ready to go, forgetting about the weather; they just came in with the approach to take care of business and I felt we did. They have the experience to know not to worry about the weather; just be physically and mentally ready to go, get warmed up and stay there as best you can.
“In particular, winning the 4x1, the 4x2 and the sprint medley was a testament to how hard these kids are working. Cody Biglow, Tyler Mox, Chris Truesdale, Nick Gallmeier and Jordan McCann in particular ran very well. We felt coming into the season that our sprints were going to be our best asset and they have been so. We have along way to go but this is definitely something we can build on. Our approach is this is one notch and one meet and we’ll focus on each of them as they come.”
Lady Wildcat coach Ryan Carder was also pleased with his young squad’s approach.
“We’ve got some girls in different events and they did well. I liked their attitude; they work hard and there was no complaining tonight,” he said. “We had a great approach coming in.
“The thing you worry about is not only warming up but staying warmed up. We took extra time to make sure we had stretched properly and stayed that way.
St. John’s is in the Elida tri-meet 4:30 p.m. Monday, while Jefferson returns to the track Friday at the Columbus Grove Bulldog Invitational.
Spencerville is in the Minster Memorial April 20.