Track prepares for outdoor season

As the indoor track & field season ends for Waynesburg University athletes, the outdoor track & field season is just beginning.

The season is set to start on March 9-10 in Wilmington, North Carolina, at the Seahawk Invitational at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington.

“What’s exciting for both men and women in indoor and outdoor is that the differences are mostly due to javelin and disk,” said jumping coach Luke Payson. “So, even though I don’t coach throwers, as a coach on the team I am very excited that a portion of our team will be able to participate.”

Head coach Michelle Cross said for the women’s team, that they have a lot of very talented athletes, but there isn’t enough of them. So, they will have to find the best way to utilize each one of them. She added that it will be much easier to practice now that the outdoor season is beginning.

“We can finally practice outside on a track instead of in a gym,” said Cross. “They can now go 100 percent in practice instead of having to work on just bits and pieces.”

As for Payson and his jumpers, they prefer the indoor season because they don’t have to worry about rain or any other inclement weather. He added that jumping is very dangerous in bad weather and he has seen a lot of people slip and fall in his years as a track & field coach.

“In outdoor season, we have some meets where the weather is not ideal and so your numbers aren’t going to be good because of that, but I am excited to do outdoor,” said Payson.

The practices for the jumpers, however, will remain the same and Payson’s goal is for the jumpers to be able to build and be at their peak by the end of the season.

“Going into outdoor things don’t change a lot for jumps–we are still doing a lot of the same stuff and there’s no real differences,” said Payson. “It does give achieved development, but for me developing-wise we hope to build. So, we use indoor as a building block and build on what we learned worked or didn’t work.”

Payson said that the largest difference between being a football, baseball or basketball coach compared to a track & field coach is numbers.

“What’s nice about being a jump coach is I don’t have to guess and see if you’re doing better, the numbers tell me,” said Payson. “So, one of the things that I like to do as a coach is I like to think of the fact that I want everyone to be doing their best at the end of the season.”

Track & field is mostly an individual sport even though they keep scores for the team according to Payson. The one goal though that will always remain for the Yellow Jackets is to get better every day.

“We want to develop people, that is people that deal with pressure, people that can deal with stress or disappointment and people that can deal with not doing as well as they want to because the reality is we are not human-doings we are human-beings,” he said.