Blessed with an afternoon of sunshine and no rain or wind, members of the Escalon track and field team headed to Oakdale for a practice meet on Thursday, March 2.
“It’s great because it’s the best way to jump back into the season for our returners and especially our newbies because it’s a non-scoring meet and athletes can try new events or just get the first meet jitters out” said head coach Carrie Nash. “Oakdale’s facility is top notch and we love competing on it. Our track has been accessible since early February but it is difficult to run fast on it and teach skills like relay zones and block starts. Our jumping and throwing areas are a bit better but not much … we look forward to next season when things will be updated.”
As of Monday March 6, the team doesn’t have access to the track, long, triple and pole vault jumping areas as well as the shot put area because the district is starting construction on the new, improved facilities at Engel Field.
“We are going to have to get creative with our practices, finding alternative spaces on campus and taking a small group to Riverbank on most Mondays to do some event work, but we will make it work,” Nash added.
The track and field team arrived very early afternoon in Oakdale on Thursday, as bus drivers had to be back in Escalon for afternoon elementary school bus routes, so Nash said coaches decided to use this time to get in some extra practice.
“Oakdale had their jumping pits ready, high jump and vault mats out early, and provided us with some starting blocks to practice with,” she explained. “We spent some extra time with relay athletes going over relay zones and practicing hand offs, jumpers got in some practice catching their steps and jumping, and throwers were able to get in some extra practice.”
The Cougars traveled with a roster of 92 athletes for the practice meet.
“Many of our athletes at this point are still trying new events and getting experience competing in these different events. Overall, we had a strong showing,” noted Nash. “All athletes got the opportunity to get a benchmark time or mark for their 2023 season. That is very important when beginning a new season and tracking progress.”
Nash serves as head coach and also focuses on sprints and relays.
Assistant coaches for the team this season include: Michael Bower, distance events; Rosie Ball, sprints/hurdles; Erica Krumeich, long and triple jump; Arend Jones, high jump and pole vault; Jim Ball, throws.
No track and field events are scheduled this week. Up next, the Cougars are scheduled to send a small squad to the TVL Relays in Ripon on Wednesday, March 15 as well as taking some to compete at the Calaveras Invitational on Saturday, March 18.