Track team travels away from home

by Eli Taylor

The Simpson College men’s and women’s track season is in full swing. Actually, it’s more like the end of a swing with the Iowa Conference Indoor Championships this weekend. Some people in the Simpson community have noticed there hasn’t been an indoor track meet at Simpson.

The issue isn’t that Simpson hates indoor track meets, but that Simpson doesn’t have the facilities to provide everything needed for an indoor track meet.

“Ours is pretty much just a practice facility,” junior Reid Leichty said.

A functional indoor facility needs to have a 200-meter track surface – Simpson’s facility is only about 160 meters long. Furthermore, there are generally six lanes in an indoor track, but Cowles Fieldhouse has just four. There also needs to be pits and other such amenities for the field events like discus, shot put and pole vault; Simpson’s facilities lack any of these things.

“It would also be nice to have fully automatic timing,” Leichty said.

Fully automatic timing is a precise mechanical method of timing that doesn’t involve somebody standing at the end of the race holding a three-dollar stopwatch from Wal-Mart. It allows the athletes’ times to qualify them for nationals, and Simpson’s facilities lack this amenity, too.

What this means to the men and women of the track team is lot of long bus rides. The Storm’s indoor track teams may be the only thing Bloomington, Illinois; Lincoln, Nebraska; Monmouth, Illinois and Galesburg, Illinois have in common – they’re the cities the team has been in over the last four weeks.

“It can be pretty hard on your body, spending that much time on the bus,” sophomore Danielle Farrell said. “But that’s the life of the athlete I guess.”

The traveling doesn’t seem to be hurting the performance of the teams very much. Both the men’s and women’s teams have taken first place at the Cornell Quad this season.

With the conference championships this weekend, the outdoor season is rapidly approaching.

“You get better sprint times outdoors, but you also have to contend with the weather, so it’s a bit of a give and take really,” Farrell said.

The indoor season does provide for perfect weather and conditions every time a race happens, but the shorter track length and narrower corners generally add about two to three seconds to an outdoor sprint time.

“There are twice as many turns in a lot of events because the track is shorter, and the turns always slow you down just a little bit,” Farrell said.