A preview and insights on this upcoming track season
Last season, the 2022 Track team had 40 athletes qualify for the Northwest Conference Championship. With an abundance of confidence built in the previous year, the team looks forward to continuing what they started. This year the team focuses on breaking previous records and moving up on in the ranks at the Conference Championships.
The Women’s and Men’s track and field team started their indoor season at the University of Portland. This rust-buster meet allows the team to prepare for the season and get the racing legs back. Maddy Hubbs, a senior on the women’s track and cross-country team and reigning 3,000-meter steeplechase Northwest Conference Champion, spoke about the meet at Portland.
“The first indoor meet is always full of nerves, excitement, and unknowns,” explained Hubbs. “We’re going out there just to see where we’re at since we haven’t raced in a while. It gives us a good idea of how to build our training and gets us ready for the next meeting.”
The indoor season lasts about a month and is commonly used by athletes to prepare for the outdoor season. The track is generally shorter, with different dimensions. Athletes typically run slower times on an indoor track. However, the first indoor meet allows athletes to assess their mental and physical fitness.
“Indoor is crazy fun!,” smiled Hubbs. “The track is only about 240 meters, and there’s no straight stretch, so you’re taking blind corners the entire time, and it fills you with a type of adrenal I don’t think you quite feel on a regular track.”
In 2022, Hubbs ranked first with a time of 11:37.98 at the Northwest Conference Championships. Hubbs likes the change of pace after cross-country season and looks forward to the 3000-meter steeplechases.
“I love having something to think about as I go around the track- having a barrier every 80 meters force you to stay engaged,” elaborated Hubb. “There’s something beautiful about letting yourself be dedicated to a race for 11-12 minutes.”
After what she considered to be a roller coaster of emotions during junior season, Hubbs is excited to see her progress from last season to this season.
“I was dealing on and off with an ankle injury last year and figuring out how to train with it,” explained Hubbs. “I was really fortunate to finish my last outdoor season, and on such a high note too. This year, I’m not doing too much different than I did last year. I’m staying true to myself and listening to my coach, trusting that she knows how to get me to where I want to be.”
Because track is a sport in which both the men’s and women’s teams compete and train together, both teams working well and succeeding together is critical. The Women’s team finished fourth overall in the 2022 Northwest Conference Championships, while the Men’s team finished fifth. Following a reasonably successful season the previous year, team chemistry and training will be the difference between adding to what they have done or losing ground in their rankings. Dominic Funk, a thrower for the Men’s team, praises the team’s performance thus far.
“The team dynamic this year has grown incredibly,” said Funk. “There’s so many new faces on the track team this year, but I can see the determination and grit in everyone. Each person is so supportive of the other and it really helps us grow together as a unit. I believe this year’s team will be the most tight-knit team I’ve been a part of in all my years at Pacific.”
On January 22, the team competed at the indoor meet and finished as the front-runner. Some standout performances included Angelica Gatcia-Gomez placing third in the Women’s 200-meter dash, Emily Rutkowski placing third in the Women’s 400-meter dash, and Zion Booker placing sixth in the Men’s 200-meter dash. After a successful opening indoor meet at the University of Portland, they look to go back and compete once more on February 5 in the indoor meet. The indoor season comes to a close after the competition at the University of Washington on February 24-25. The regular outdoor season will start on March 3 when the Boxers compete at Linfield University. — Avari Schumacher